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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Peripheral Arterial Disease Treatments

Depending on the severity of your condition, treatment may include one or more of the following:

Medical Therapy

  • Exercise Therapy (Walking program to improve blood flow to the legs)
  • Medication
    • Blood pressure Medication
    • Lipid Lowering Medication (Statins)
    • Medication to improve walking distance
  • Risk Factor Modification

Open Surgery

  • Bypass: Placement of a bypass graft to reroute blood flow around the arterial blockage or replace an aneurysm where a vein from your leg or arm, or a synthetic (man-made) graft, may be used to go around the blockage, also known as a bypass, or replace the aneurysm section of an artery; the removal of the vein from the leg is not harmful, since most of the blood flows through the deep veins back to the heart
  • Embolectomy: Removal of a blood clot from an artery to restore blood flow
  • Endarterectomy: Removal of plaque from the blocked artery to restore blood flow

Minimally-Invasive Endovascular Therapy: Angioplasty and Stenting

  • Angioplasty and stenting are performed to open up the artery blockage and improve blood flow to the leg. A long, thin, flexible tube (catheter) with a balloon tip is inserted into an artery in the groin. Guided by X-ray and a contrast "dye," the tube is threaded to the site of the artery blockage. Once it is in place, the balloon is inflated and pushes the plaque against the artery wall. A stent, a tiny mesh coil often made of stainless steel, is then placed to keep open the blocked artery. The stent is permanent.
  • Atherectomy is a technique where plaque is removed (if a rotational blade is used) or dissolved (if a laser device is used). These interventions are usually performed under local anesthesia.

Regenerative Therapies

  • For patients who have no options for surgery or endovascular therapy, we offer enrollment into different gene- and cell-based therapies to grow new blood vessels, thereby improving blood flow to the lower extremity.

Limb Preservation and Wound Care Program


At the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, we evaluate our clinical outcomes so that we can fully understand how our treatments and procedures benefit our patients. We regularly review and evaluate our clinical outcomes and, based on the results, develop methods to monitor and improve the healthcare we offer to our vascular patients.

Patient Story

Individuals from across the country travel to the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute to receive exceptional patient care and the most advanced treatments available. Meet our patient who was successfully treated for peripheral arterial disease.

Clinical Trials

Ongoing clinical research trials at the Center for Vascular Disease are investigating new treatment options for peripheral arterial disease to ensure that our patients continue to receive the most innovative care in the country. For more information regarding these clinical trials, visit the Clinical Trials Unit of Northwestern, send an e-mail or call 312-926-4000.

Contact Us Today

For more information regarding peripheral arterial disease and the treatments available, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 866-662-8467. To schedule an appointment, please call 312-695-4965 or request a first-time appointment online.


Last UpdateNovember 23, 2012