Leg artery occlusion (PAD)

Improving your quality of life

Patients with circulatory disorders in their legs often have to stop while walking to relieve their pain. In pronounced cases, there is also a rest pain, especially at night. The reason may be a constriction or occlusion of the leg arteries.

At Schoen Clinic, we specialise in arterial occlusive diseases. This leads to circulatory disorders in the abdomen and pelvic area, most frequently in the legs and rarely in the arms and hands. The aim of our treatment is to significantly alleviate your discomfort and improve your quality of life. 

Causes & symptoms

What is a PAD?

Narrow points in arteries (arteries, not veins) are referred to as arterial occlusive disease (AOD). If the arteries of the pelvis and the legs or, in rare cases, the arms are affected, this is referred to as peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

Bottlenecks or occlusions in the vessel obstruct blood flow. The body parts supplied by this vessel are then no longer supplied with sufficient oxygen. 

Causes: How a leg artery occlusion occurs

Age and gender as well as heredity transmission play a role in the development of an AOD. Other risk factors include: 

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Diabetes mellitus 
  • High blood pressure
  • Lack of movement
  • Poor diet
  • Being overweight

Leg artery occlusion: Symptoms indicating a disorder

PAD initially causes no complaints and therefore often goes unnoticed for a long time. The advanced stage results in pain while walking. Sometimes, after walking a short distance sufferers have to stop time and time again. This rhythm of walking a few steps and then stopping again to take a break is also called an intermittent claudication (‘window shoppers disease’): The patient looks to be stopping in front of every store window and looking closely at the contents.

At a later stage, the pain also occurs at rest, then tissue damage, for example on the toes, threatens if it progresses further.

Since not only the arteries of the legs, but also the arteries supplying the heart and brain can be affected, there is an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. Life expectancy can be shortened by up to ten years.  


Diagnosis: How we determine a leg artery occlusion

Our expert team of vascular specialists carries out the corresponding examinations. This includes measuring your blood pressure as well as the pressure values at your foot, the so-called Doppler pressure measurement. This examination is simple and painless. Even if there are no complaints or unclear complaints, it can prove an AOD.

An ultrasound examination (sonography) can also help to confirm the suspicion of a PAD. It makes the vessels and noticeable changes visible. We use colour-coded duplex sonography to assess the blood flow in the vessels. 

If we have diagnosed a PAD, we can conduct further examinations to define the changes and plan your therapy.

Other possible examinations

If treatment of the complaint is required, the exact diagnosis must be supplemented by other examinations:

  • Digital subtraction angiography (DSA)
    This is the most accurate method using catheters and contrast agents to represent the vascular system down to the smallest ramifications.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    This results in high-resolution cross-sectional images that show the entire vascular network with constrictions or occlusions.