PTA of the lower limb arteries is endovascular treatment in patients with functional ischemia (claudication) or critical ischemia (pain at rest, ulceration of the feet or toes). The arteries that can be treated in this way are located above, at the level and below the knee. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia by accessing the narrowing through the arteries of the legs, while the control is performed using X – rays in the angio room. Agioplasty represents the expansion of the wall of an obstructed or narrowed blood vessel using a special medical balloon. The balloon is placed inside the lumen of the blood vessel. It is then inflated thus pushing the plaque against the wall of the artery while expanding its lumen. In certain situations, balloons coated with medication which has an additional effect on the blood vessel wall and prevents (slows down) narrowing are also used.
In cases when angioplasty alone is not enough to solve the narrowing in the arteries of the leg, one or more stents can be implanted. A stent is a metal tube placed inside a blood vessel, along an arterial wall which prevents it from narrowing again.
Also, in certain situations, significant calcium deposits on blood vessels are removed using special catheter systems, together with thrombotic masses, thus establishing adequate blood flow. At the end of the procedure, manual compression or a special type of artery closure device are used to close the access point.
Author: Vladimir Kovačević, Radiologist