Peripheral Artery Disease
Thrombophlebitis of the arm — a vein inflammation caused by blood clots.
Infected ischemic toes on the foot of a 78-year-old man caused by PAD. Ischemia is a lack of blood supply to an area of the body, caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply it. It can lead to gangrene and infection.
Hands with acrocyanosis (left) caused by perpipheral artery disease compared with a healthy hand (right). The purplish blue color is a result of spasms in the small blood vessels that reduce blood flow. Spasms are often triggered by cold weather and result in excessively sweaty, often cold hands.
Varicose veins are enlarged or twisted superficial veins, often found in the legs and caused by defective valves in the veins. In this case, the veins are distended and swollen due to blood collecting in the legs. Varicose veins are also caused by an inherited tendency or an obstruction in a vein.
A 71-year-old female patient with leg ulcers, a history venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Venous insufficiency is the failure of valves in the veins to function properly, which interferes with blood flow to the heart. The ulcers were triggered by minimal trauma and took many months to heal.
Gangrene resulting from a leg ulcer on a 77-year-old woman with PAD. An ulcer is an open sore that does not heal and may turn necrotic, as seen here. PAD is a condition resulting from obstructed peripheral arteries, caused by underlying conditions such as atherosclerosis, stenosis, an embolism or a thrombus. PAD results in ischemia, ulceration and gangrene.
Narrowing and blockage of the peripheral arteries can cause pain, changes in skin color, sores, ulcers and difficulty walking. Common symptoms include cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs. Patients with PAD have a four-to-five times higher risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. Smokers, as well as patients with hypertension and diabetes, are at risk.