Treatments

Peripheral Vascular Disease Treatments

Appropriate treatment of peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD) is necessary to control the symptoms, such as pain or swelling, and to halt the disease’s progression. Left untreated, PVD and PAD can lead to loss of limb and other complications, including death.

Aggressive treatment of existing conditions that may aggravate PVD, such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia or elevated blood cholesterol. Your Northwestern Medicine vascular team will assess your current condition and determine the best course of treatment, which may include:

  • Lifestyle modifications: Such as regular exercise, proper nutrition and smoking cessation to help minimize your risk.
  • Medications: Medications for improving blood flow, such as antiplatelet agents (blood thinners) and medications that relax the blood vessel walls.
  • Angioplasty: A catheter or long hollow tube creates a larger opening in an artery to increase blood flow. There are several types of angioplasty procedures, including:
    • Balloon angioplasty: A small balloon is inflated inside the blocked artery to open the blocked area.
    • Atherectomy: The blocked area inside the artery is "shaved" away by a tiny device on the end of a catheter. 
    • Laser angioplasty: A laser is used to "vaporize" the blockage in the artery.
  • Stenting: A tiny coil is expanded and left inside the artery to open the blocked area.
  • Vascular surgery: A blood vessel from another part of the body or a tube made of synthetic material is placed in the area of the blocked or narrowed artery to reroute the blood flow (bypass). 

With both angioplasty and vascular surgery, the surgeon may perform an angiogram prior to the procedure to determine the exact location of the blockage.

Minimally invasive techniques

Vascular surgeons provide surgical and nonsurgical care for diseases of the veins, lymphatic vessels and arteries. You can take advantage of a full range of services available at Northwestern Medicine (including minimally invasive techniques, when appropriate) if you suffer from:

  • Claudication (pain when walking due to arterial blockage)
  • Leg ulcers related to poor circulation
  • Carotid artery disease that could lead to stroke
  • Aortic aneurysm and other arterial aneurysms
  • Varicose veins and other vein disease, including blood clots
  • Leg swelling due to venous and lymphatic disease
  • Kidney failure requiring hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis
  • Any condition requiring noninvasive vascular testing

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).


Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:


Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:


Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central Kishwaukee Hospital, please call 815.748.5844

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:
Clinical trials conducted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital: visit Clinical Trials Unit of Northwestern, send an email or call 312.926.4000.

Clinical trials conducted at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital: visit Northwestern Medicine Office of Research  or call 630.933.6528.