Treatments & Procedures

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If physicians suspect peripheral vascular disease (PVD) or peripheral artery disease (PAD), they will check for a weak pulse or for an abnormal whooshing sound in your legs or feet. They may recommend the following tests:  

  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI) compares blood pressure in your ankle to the blood pressure in your arm to verify how well blood is flowing in the limbs. 
  • Doppler ultrasound uses sound waves to check blood flow in the major arteries and the veins in the limbs. 
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram uses magnetic- and radio-wave energy to take images of the blood vessels. 
  • Arteriogram verifies the location, type and extent of the blockage in the arteries through an injection of a contrast dye that appears on an X-ray.


Depending on the severity of the disease, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet and participating in a supervised exercise program
  • Medications to lower cholesterol levels and high blood pressure
  • Medications to thin the blood, which prevents clots from forming or that dissolve blood clots
  • Pain relief medication


When symptoms cannot be sufficiently controlled with medication, your condition may be treated with a minimally invasive or surgical intervention. Houston Methodist offers various options:

  • Catheter-based removal of plaque (percutaneous transluminal angioplasty or PTA)
  • Surgical removal of plaque (endarterectomy)
  • Bypass graft to restore blood flow

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