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Care for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI)

CLI is a serious condition, and it warrants serious treatment by our expertly-trained surgeons and staff.

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Why Choose Treatment for Peripheral Arterial Disease at University of Colorado Hospital?

University of Colorado Hospital is the first hospital in Denver and the Rocky Mountain region to use new minimally invasive treatments for PAD.

We have a comprehensive program with doctors who are experts in treating PAD.

And as part of an academic medical center, we conduct new research on peripheral arterial disease and its most effective treatments.

Medical Team

Peripheral Arterial Disease Specialists

Geriatric medicine specialist - a doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of elderly patients

Interventional radiologist - a doctor who specializes in minimally invasive, targeted treatments using imaging for guidance

Neurointerventional radiologist - a doctor who specializes in minimally invasive, targeted treatments of the nervous system using imaging for guidance

Vascular surgeon - a doctor who specializes in the surgical repair of blood vessels.


Other Peripheral Arterial Disease Staff

Physician assistant - a licensed health professional who practices medicine under the supervision of a doctor

Registered nurse - a nurse who conducts medical evaluations, takes patient histories and provides after care for patients



A picture of the blood vessel produced by X-rays and illuminated by contrast dye.

Ankle-Brachial Index

Compares the blood pressure in the arm to the pressure in the leg using a blood pressure cuff and a Doppler ultrasound probe.

Blood Pressure Cuffs

Placed at various locations in the legs, these devices help to detect the location of artery blockages.

Doppler Ultrasound Probe

Uses sound waves to painlessly measure blood flow through arteries to detect obstruction.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) and Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA)

These tests use contrast dye injected into your veins to make blockages of the vessels visible on detailed X-ray pictures. 

Treadmill Exercise Test

This test measures your heart capacity.

Managing PAD

You can manage your PAD by:

  • Not smoking
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating balanced meals
  • Controlling your weight
  • Controlling your blood pressure
  • Watching your cholesterol intake

Your doctor also may advise you to treat your PAD with medications or with surgery.


Medical Treatments for Peripheral Arterial Disease

  • Anti-coagulants (blood thinners). These compounds prevent and/or stop the progression of clots.
  • Statins (cholesterol-lowering medications). Control the build-up of plaque in your arteries.

Surgical procedures to treat Peripheral Arterial Disease

  • Angioplasty. Catheter-based procedure performed to open up a blocked artery and restore blood flow to the surrounding tissue.
  • Atherectomy. Catheter-based procedure which “shaves” away the plaque in the artery.
  • Bypass Surgery. Surgeons attach a blood vessel from another part of the body (usually the leg or chest) to the heart so that the blood bypasses a blocked or narrowed artery.
  • Cryotherapy. Controlled freezing of the arterial blockage.
  • Stenting. A tiny mesh tube (stent) is inserted in the artery and expanded to clear a blockage and keep the artery open.
  • Stent Grafting. A stent is placed in the artery with an aneurysm (weak, bulging section of a blood vessel). The stent lines the interior of the artery and allows blood to pass through without placing stress on the aneurysm.

Patient Education

Living with Peripheral Arterial Disease

Visit your doctor for any treatments you may need for your PAD. You can manage the condition by:

  • Keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in normal ranges
  • Controlling your intake of sugar, especially if you are diabetic
  • Checking your feet and toes for sores and infection
  • Keeping your feet clean, removing calluses and seeking treatment for abnormalities like corns and bunions
  • Walking regularly to improve circulation in the legs

Getting a Second Opinion About Peripheral Arterial Disease

The doctors and staff of the Cardiac & Vascular Center at University of Colorado Hospital are happy to provide second opinions for patients who have symptoms of or a diagnosis of PAD. Call us at (720) 848-5300.

Support Groups

Additional Resources

PAD lower leg pain

Peripheral Arterial Disease at a Glance

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), also called peripheral vascular disease, happens when there is a narrowing of blood vessels outside of your heart. It can limit blood flow to body parts such as the:

If PAD is not treated, it may get worse over time. It can lead to:

Risk factors for PAD include:

  • History of coronary artery disease
  • Male gender
  • Diabetes
  • Post-menopause in women
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High blood lipid (fat) levels (dyslipidemia)
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking

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