About one in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 suffers from peripheral artery disease (PAD). It is a medical condition that results from narrowing of the arteries. It most commonly affects the legs, but may also occur in the stomach, arms, and even head. These peripheral arteries are usually clogged with fatty deposits or plaque, making one more susceptible to heart attack or stroke.

A new set of guidelines was published in November 2016 for managing patients with PAD. These updated recommendations, published by ACC and the American Heart Association, replace the 2011 guidelines. The new guidelines are meant to provide comprehensive recommendations for those living with PAD.


The guidelines recommend that patients with PAD participate in a structured exercise program. Researchers found that a structured exercise program can help improve leg circulation and reduce pain that sometimes comes with activity. Optimum results have been achieved by those who have undergone supervised structured exercise programs.

Vascular procedures, such as angioplasty or stent placement, may be recommended to those with critical limb ischemia. These procedures may also be suggested to patients who still experience problems with walking even after undergoing both medical and exercise therapy.

It is also suggested that PAD patients  undergo annual flu shots to avoid cardiovascular complications as a result of catching the flu. Smoking cessation and avoidance of secondhand smoke are also recommended.

Signs and Symptoms

Aside from medical management, the new set of guidelines also emphasized the signs and symptoms of PAD which do not only include claudication but also ischemic rest pain, non-healing wound, walking impairment, and lower extremity pulses.

For those showing the signs and symptoms of PAD, healthcare professionals recommend measuring the ankle brachial index (ABI) of these patients. Although measuring ABI is not the best way to determine PAD, especially among those with chronic kidney disease and diabetes, it still helps in detecting the disease.

At Premier Surgical in Knoxville, we have a team of well-experienced vascular surgeons   extensively trained in the area of managing and treating vascular diseases . If you feel like you have the symptoms of peripheral artery disease, visit the Vascular Surgeon page on our website.

Not sure if you’re at risk for PAD?

See our checklist!