An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when there is a weakened, enlarged area in the lower part of your aorta — the major blood vessel that runs through the center of your chest and abdomen and provides blood to your legs. This condition can increase your risk for developing blood clots. If your AAA is not treated, the vessel wall can further weaken, causing the aneurysm to grow and potentially rupture. A ruptured AAA can cause internal bleeding.
There are many situations that can potentially cause an abdominal aortic aneurysm, including:
In many cases, an abdominal aortic aneurysm can grow slowly, and you won’t experience any symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they may include:
Some aneurysms never rupture. But signs and symptoms that an abdominal aortic aneurysm has ruptured include:
Abdominal aortic aneurysms are often discovered during a routine health check, such as a comprehensive physical exam. If your doctor thinks you may have an AAA, they may complete one or more of the following additional tests:
If your aneurysm is small (less than 5cm) and not causing you any symptoms, your specialist may recommend watchful waiting, lifestyle modifications, smoking cessation and exercise. You may need to take medication such as a daily anti-platelet medicine (aspirin) and cholesterol reducing medicine (statin). You should manage conditions that could worsen the aneurysm, such as high blood pressure (hypertension). You will need to be monitored periodically with ultrasounds to watch for growth of the aneurysm.
Your doctor will typically recommend surgery in the following situations:
Depending on your specific situation, aneurysm location, health history and other factors, your surgeon may recommend one of the following surgical procedures:
Your vascular surgeon will speak with you about actions you can take to help prevent a future aortic aneurysm or to stop a current aneurysm from worsening. Lifestyle modifications may include:
Whether you had an aortic aneurysm in the past or are looking to be proactive about preventing one in the future, the experts at Orlando Health are here to support you.
Aortoiliac occlusive disease is a blockage of the aorta or the iliac arteries. The aorta is the largest artery in your body. It runs through the center of your chest and abdomen and provides blood to your legs. The iliac arteries are the branches that the aorta divides into to provide blood to your legs and pelvic organs.
Aortoiliac occlusive disease has several potential causes, including:
Some people with this condition never experience symptoms. Those who do may notice one or more of the following:
Your vascular specialist will perform a complete physical exam, which will include gathering your personal and family medical histories. Your doctor may also order one or more of the following tests to diagnose aortoiliac occlusive disease:
Depending on the severity of your condition and other factors, your vascular surgeon will recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
Whether you have managed aortoiliac occlusive disease in the past or are looking to preventing the condition in the future, the experts at Orlando Health are here to support you.
Arm artery disease is a type of peripheral arterial disease in which the arteries of your arms become blocked or narrowed. The arteries then cannot carry oxygen-rich blood to your arms. If left untreated, the condition may lead to amputation.
Arm artery disease is typically caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), autoimmune diseases and complications from dialysis access or by blood clots. Factors that can increase your risk of developing arm artery disease include:
Arm artery disease may cause one or more of the following symptoms in your arms:
Your vascular specialist will perform a complete exam of your arms, including taking your blood pressure and temperature in both arms. You may also need one or more of the following tests to aid in the diagnosis of arm artery disease:
Your vascular specialist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options for arm artery disease:
If you have been diagnosed with arm artery disease, the experts at Orlando Health are here to support you and find the best treatment path.
Atherosclerosis is a condition where your arteries become hard and narrow (stenosis) due to the buildup of plaque. Atherosclerosis-related diseases — such as heart attack and stroke — are the top cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Approximately 610,000 people die due to heart disease in the United States each year — 1 in every 4 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The buildup of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances creates plaque inside arteries, causing them to become hard and narrow. This can lead to serious problems including heart attack, stroke, amputation and even death.
Certain risk factors can put you at a higher likelihood for developing atherosclerosis. There are some factors you cannot control, such as age, gender, race or family history.
Risk factors that you can manage include:
It is important that you seek diagnosis and treatment for these conditions so that you do not put yourself at an increased risk for atherosclerosis or other serious related conditions.
Until their arteries narrow significantly, many people with atherosclerosis will not experience any symptoms. Symptoms often appear only when the disease is advanced and often vary due to the types of arteries affected.
These symptoms include:
Other symptoms of atherosclerosis include:
If the arteries of your neck are affected by atherosclerosis, a mini-stroke or stroke may occur.
Symptoms of stroke can include:
Your doctor will likely recommend one or more blood tests to aid in your diagnosis. Depending on the arteries that your doctor suspects are affected, you may have one or more of the following additional tests:
Your doctor will use the results from these tests to formulate the most effective customized treatment plan for you.
Your doctor will provide information to help you understand the effects of atherosclerosis and recommend changes in your daily life, which may include:
When other more conservative treatments are not enough to control your atherosclerosis, your doctor may recommend surgery.
The surgical options we offer include:
Your Orlando Health heart specialist will evaluate your condition and discuss the appropriate treatment options that are right for you.
Carotid artery disease is when plaque (buildup of fatty deposits) blocks the blood vessels that deliver blood to your brain and head (the carotid arteries). These blockages increase your risk of having a stroke.
Carotid artery disease is caused by hardening and blockage of the arteries, called atherosclerosis. You are at an increased risk of developing carotid artery disease if you:
In many cases, you won’t know that you have carotid artery disease until the condition has caused a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) or temporarily reduced blood flow to the brain. Signs and symptoms of a stroke or TIA come on suddenly and can include:
Your vascular specialist will conduct a thorough physical examination, which will include gathering information about your personal and family health histories. Your specialist may also conduct physical and mental capabilities tests to assess your strength, memory and speech.
You may need one or more of the following tests to aid in diagnosis:
Treatment for carotid artery disease typically involves taking measures to keep it from getting worse. You should follow your vascular specialist’s directions, which will likely include one or more of the following:
If your blockage is severe — or you have had a stroke or TIA — you may need to undergo a surgical procedure to remove the blockage. Your specialist may recommend one of the following procedures:
Whether you have already been diagnosed with carotid artery disease or are looking to prevent it, the experts at Orlando Health are here to support you.
If you have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), the valves in your veins (usually in your leg or sometimes your arms) do not work, causing blood to pool and put increased pressure on the walls of the veins.
CVI affects up to 40 percent of women and 20 percent of men worldwide, according to the National Institutes of Health. The condition is more common in women, especially after multiple pregnancies, and in people who are middle-aged or older.
The causes of CVI include:
Most symptoms of CVI are mild. You may experience one or more of the following symptoms in the affected limb:
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms, medical history and family medical history.
The diagnosis process may include:
Your doctor will use the results from these tests to formulate the most effective, customized treatment plan for you.
Most treatment options for CVI are nonsurgical. The main goal is to prevent severe swelling and keep ulcers from developing. Treatment can include:
Your Orlando Health specialist will discuss treatment options and determine the proper treatment for you.
To keep your body healthy and reduce symptoms and complications related to CVI, you should:
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein of your body — typically in your leg. If a blood clot breaks loose, it may travel through your bloodstream and to your lungs, which can cause a life-threatening decrease in blood flow.
DVT can be caused by a variety of situations and conditions, including:
Some people with DVT never experience any symptoms. Others experience one or more of the following in the area with the blood clot:
Your specialist will conduct a thorough physical examination, which will include asking about your symptoms. You may also need a test such as:
Depending on your unique situation, your vascular specialist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Whether you have already been diagnosed with DVT or are looking to be proactive about preventing it, the experts at Orlando Health are here to support you every step of the way.
If you have diabetes, complications from the condition can put you at significant risk for amputation of a foot or leg. Diabetes increases your risk of developing infections and complications from common foot problems including:
If other, more conservative treatment measures are not effective, you may need to undergo a procedure to manage the foot condition.
One part of prevention is caring for your skin and nails properly, which includes:
Whether you have dealt with foot conditions in the past or are looking to prevent them in the future, the experts at Orlando Health are here to support you.
Giant cell arteritis is when the lining of the arteries becomes inflamed. It occurs most commonly in the arteries of the head, particularly those near the temples. This is called temporal arteritis. It can also occur in the arteries of the arms, brain and abdominal organs, known as Takayasu’s arteritis. If not properly managed, giant cell arteritis can lead to serious conditions such as blindness or a stroke.
About 50 percent of people with giant cell arteritis also have a related condition called polymyalgia rheumatica, which causes pain in the neck, shoulders or hips.
The cause of giant cell arteritis is not well understood, but experts think it may involve the immune system attacking the artery walls.
The following factors can put you at an increased risk of developing giant cell arteritis:
The main symptoms of giant cell arteritis are severe pain and tenderness in the head, usually in both temples. The pain may come and go, be steady or gradually worsen over time.
Symptoms of temporal arteritis include:
Symptoms of Takayasu’s arteritis include:
Your doctor will perform a thorough history and physical examination, which will include asking about your symptoms and your personal and family medical histories. Your doctor will closely examine the arteries in your temples to see if they are tender, hard to the touch or have a reduced pulse.
Your doctor may recommend blood tests or imaging exams — such as duplex ultrasound, CT, MRI, angiogram or a biopsy in the case of temporal arteritis. The symptoms of giant cell arteritis can mimic other conditions, so your doctor will need to do tests to rule them out.
In most cases, the treatment for giant cell arteritis involves taking a high dose of a corticosteroid medication, such as prednisone. You should notice some relief from your symptoms within a few days. You may need to take the corticosteroid medication for up to two years or even longer. Stenting, surgical intervention, or additional immunosuppressive medication may be necessary in some cases.
If you have been diagnosed with giant cell arteritis, the experts at Orlando Health are here to guide and support you in your journey to better health.
Hyperlipidemia is a condition where you have a high level of lipids (fats, cholesterol and triglycerides) in your blood. These lipids can enter the walls of the arteries and increase your risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which can lead to stroke, heart attack, amputation or even death.
Hyperlipidemia is usually chronic (long-lasting) and requires long-term medication to control blood lipid levels and lifestyle modifications. This is an extremely common condition for those who follow a Western high-fat diet, such as in the United States.
Hyperlipidemia is an umbrella term that refers to several acquired and genetic disorders that cause high lipid levels.
Hyperlipidemia is most commonly associated with:
Familial hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) — a genetic cause of hyperlipidemia that runs in families — affects 95 million American adults age 20 or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hyperlipidemia can result from mutations in genes involving proteins in a form of cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Elevated blood lipid levels alone do not cause symptoms. However, when atherosclerosis results from hyperlipidemia, you may begin to experience symptoms. The symptoms vary depending on which arteries are affected:
Your doctor will likely order a blood test to analyze your lipid and cholesterol levels. You will need to fast (not eat or drink) overnight before the test.
The specialists at Orlando Health will help manage your hyperlipidemia. Initial treatment requires lifestyle modifications such as: smoking cessation, exercise, weight loss and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains, with limited animal products and saturated fats. Most people will need to take a long-term statin medication to control their blood lipid levels as well.
An aneurysm is a weakened area of the wall of an artery that causes an abnormally enlarged area. Peripheral aneurysms are aneurysms that form in arteries other than the aorta (the largest artery in the body) or the brain. Most commonly, peripheral aneurysms form on the popliteal artery, which runs down the lower thigh and knee.
Peripheral aneurysms can also form in these places:
The cause of a peripheral aneurysm is not always known, but the following factors can contribute:
Many people with a peripheral aneurysm never experience any symptoms. Those who do may notice one or more of the following:
To diagnose peripheral aneurysm, your doctor will perform a complete history and physical exam, which will include asking you questions about your personal and family health histories.
You may also need one or more of the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:
If your aneurysm is small and not causing symptoms, you will be monitored for signs of change. If the aneurysm is larger, you’ll require treatment, as you are at risk of a sudden blockage or a dislodged clot obstructing blood flow.
If a blood clot is blocking the aneurysm, your specialist may use thrombolytic therapy to break up the clot before surgery.
Treatments for peripheral aneurysm include:
If you have been diagnosed with a peripheral aneurysm, the experts at Orlando Health are here to guide and support you in throughout treatment and beyond.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common circulatory condition that causes reduced blood flow to your legs. In many cases, PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a condition where the arteries harden and then narrow due to a buildup of fat and cholesterol. Those with PAD are at an increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of PAD. Other causes and risk factors of PAD include:
Signs and symptoms of PAD include:
To diagnose PAD, your doctor will perform a comprehensive physical, which will include asking you questions about your personal and family health histories.
You may also need one or more of the following tests to confirm the diagnosis and assess your risk factors:
Your vascular surgeon will speak with you about actions you can take to prevent PAD from worsening. Lifestyle modifications include:
In addition to lifestyle modifications, an exercise program can significantly improve the symptoms of PAD.
You may also require one or a combination of the following medications to help manage PAD and your risk factors:
If conservative measures are not enough to control your symptoms and stop the progression of your PAD, your doctor may recommend one of the following surgical procedures:
Whether you have already been diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease or are looking to be proactive about preventing the condition in the future, the experts at Orlando Health are here to support you every step of the way.
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries of the lungs. PE is a condition that can be life-threatening, so it is important for it to be treated right away.
In most cases, PE is caused by a blood clot that develops in another part of the body, breaks off and travels to the lung; commonly from the legs to the lungs, such as with deep vein thrombosis.
The following can put you at higher risk for developing a blood clot:
Signs and symptoms of PE include:
To diagnose PE, your doctor will perform a complete physical examination, which includes gathering information about your personal and family health histories. You may also need one or more of the following tests:
The first step of your treatment may involve taking a blood-thinning medication. If medication alone is not enough to break up the clot, your vascular specialist may recommend one of the following surgical procedures:
Whether you have already been diagnosed with pulmonary embolism or are looking to be proactive about preventing the condition in the future, the experts at Orlando Health are here to support you.
The renal arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the kidneys. When they are blocked, your kidneys do not receive enough blood or oxygen. This condition is called renal artery stenosis.
Other less common conditions that can affect the renal arteries include:
The following factors can also increase your risk of developing a renovascular condition:
To diagnose a renovascular condition, your doctor will perform a complete medical history and physical examination, which includes gathering your personal and family health histories. You may need one or more of the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:
Lifestyle changes may include:
Depending on the severity of your renovascular condition, your specialist may recommend one of the following surgeries:
Whether you have already been diagnosed with a renovascular condition or are looking to be proactive about preventing one from developing in the future, the experts at Orlando Health are here to support you.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked or reduced, which keeps the brain from getting oxygen and important nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.
If you believe you or someone you know is experiencing a stroke, call 911 immediately. Act quickly to reduce the chance of permanent brain damage or other complications.
A stroke is caused by one of the following:
The following factors put you at increased risk of a stroke:
The symptoms of a stroke can include:
To diagnose a stroke, your doctor will perform a complete physical examination, including asking detailed questions about when your symptoms began. You will also likely have one or more of the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:
Treatment for your stroke depends on which type of stroke you’ve had: ischemic or hemorrhagic.
The main focus of treatment for an ischemic stroke is to restore blood flow to your brain as quickly as possible. This may include treatment with an intravenous (IV) injection of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) or another clot-busting medication.
Alternately, you may need a surgical procedure to break up or remove the clot. Your surgeon may recommend you have a stent (small tube) placed to help open the blocked artery.
The initial focus of treatment for hemorrhagic stroke is to control your bleeding and decrease the pressure in your brain. If you regularly take a blood-thinning medication, you may be administered medication to counteract the blood thinner. You may also receive emergency medication to:
Your vascular surgeon may recommend a surgical procedure to repair blood vessel abnormalities related to the stroke.
In most cases, those who have experienced a stroke need a rehabilitation program to help them fully regain speech, balance, vision, walking and swallowing function. Your care team will discuss your personalized rehabilitation recommendations with you.
Once you’ve had a stroke, your risk for more strokes increases. Your vascular surgeon will speak with you about actions you can take to help prevent future strokes.
Lifestyle change recommendations may include:
If you’ve had a stroke in the past, your doctor may recommend an antiplatelet or anticoagulant medication to reduce your chances of having another one in the future.
Varicose veins occur when a vein becomes twisted and enlarged. They occur most commonly in the legs.
Weak or damaged valves (regulate blood flow throughout the body) can cause varicose veins. Since the veins in your legs must work against gravity to pump blood back up to your heart, there are valves in the veins that open to let blood through and close to prevent it from flowing backward. If these valves are weakened, blood can flow backward and pool in the vein. This causes the vein to stretch or twist, which leads to varicose veins.
Factors that increase your risk of varicose veins include:
Sometimes varicose veins don’t cause any symptoms. However, you may notice some of your veins are dark purple or blue in color. The veins may also be visibly twisted or bulging.
Those who do have symptoms may experience the following:
Your doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination, including closely checking your legs while you are sitting and standing. They may recommend an ultrasound to make sure your veins are functioning normally and you don’t have a blood clot.
In many cases, varicose veins can be greatly reduced with lifestyle modifications.
If these measures aren’t enough to help reduce your varicose veins or if you experience painful symptoms, your vascular surgeon may recommend surgical treatment.
The vascular surgeons at Orlando Health Heart Institute Vascular Surgery Group are experts in diagnosing and treating a wide range of vascular conditions, including those listed below.
This is a weakened, bulging area of the aorta (the largest blood vessel in your body), which runs through your abdomen.
This is a blockage of the aorta (the largest blood vessel in your body).
In this condition, the arteries in your arms are narrowed or blocked, leading to reduced blood flow.
This buildup of plaque in your blood vessels can lead to serious complications if not properly managed.
This is narrowing in the major arteries on the sides of your neck, which bring blood to your head, face and brain.
When the walls or valves of your leg veins are not properly functioning, blood can pool and lead to this condition.
Deep vein thrombosis — or DVT — is a blood clot in a deep vein of your body, typically in the leg.
Not properly managing your diabetes can lead to a number of foot conditions, which may lead to serious complications, such as amputation.
This is inflammation (swelling) of the large blood vessels in your scalp, neck and arms.
More commonly known as high cholesterol, this is a buildup of lipids (fats) in your blood.
These aneurysms (weakened, bulging areas of an artery) occur in arteries other than the aorta.
With this disease, the blood vessels that bring blood to the arms and legs are narrowed, restricting the flow of oxygen-rich blood.
Also known as PE, this condition occurs when a blood clot (usually from the leg) becomes lodged in an artery of the lung.
This is a group of conditions that affect the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys.
A stroke occurs when oxygen-rich blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted.
Improperly functioning valves can cause blood to pool in veins, causing them to twist and bulge — known as varicose veins.
An angiogram is an X-ray procedure that can be used both to help to make a diagnosis and therapeutically as part of your treatment plan. An angiogram detects blockages by taking X-rays while a contrast agent (iodine dye) is injected into your arteries. The procedure provides information that helps your doctor determine your best possible treatment options.
An angiogram is considered the gold standard for evaluating blockages in the arterial system. If your doctor suspects you have a blockage in an artery, they may recommend an angiogram to make a diagnosis or to help treat it.
Using this information, your doctor will determine the best therapy for you.
Two common treatments doctors administer during an angiogram include:
Whether or not your doctor immediately administers treatment depends on your symptoms and the severity and characteristics of the blockages.
An ankle-brachial index test – or ABI test – is a non-invasive test that uses inflatable cuffs to gauge circulation (blood flow) and measure blood pressure in your arteries at various locations on your thigh, calf, foot and toes.
If your doctor suspects you have a circulation problem, they may recommend an ABI test to help pinpoint the problem.
Blood pressure cuffs of various sizes are placed on your thigh, calf, foot and toes. As the technician inflates the cuffs, they progressively tighten and then are quickly released. You may feel some discomfort but generally for less than 60 seconds for each measurement. The ABI test typically takes 10 to 20 minutes.
Here are some tips to prepare for an upcoming ABI test:
You should be able to resume normal activities immediately after the ABI test and shouldn’t notice any after-effects. The technician may be able to tell you how your results compare to normal, or you may need to discuss the results with your doctor at your next appointment.
Computed tomography angiography (CTA) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) are non-invasive, advanced imaging tests that provide detailed information about the blood vessels within your body. These tests use modern computerized image processing techniques that let your doctor view your blood vessels three-dimensionally, which is an important step in evaluating your vascular condition and how best to treat it.
A CTA test can help your care team determine the appropriate treatment for a variety of vascular conditions, including:
Some people worry about the amount of radiation they’re exposed to during CTA tests. The radiation from a typical CTA is equivalent to about 50 plain-film chest X-rays, which is about the same amount of radiation the average person receives each year from the environment. Occasional CTAs are considered safe.
You may not want to undergo a CTA if any of the following apply to you:
You will lie on a motorized bed that is wheeled into a gantry (tube) with scanner detectors stationed all around you. Your doctor will administer an IV contrast dye that helps them obtain a clearer picture of your blood vessels. If IV contrast is used, you may experience a warm, flushed sensation and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes. Minor reactions can include itching and hives, which can be relieved with medication. If you experience light-headedness or difficulty breathing, you should tell the technologist right away, as these can indicate a severe allergic reaction. The CTA should take less than 10 minutes.
An MRA can help your care team determine the appropriate treatment for a variety of vascular conditions, including:
You may not want to undergo an MRA if you have any of the following:
If the use of gadolinium IV contrast dye is planned as part of your MRA, you may not want to undergo an MRA if any of the following apply to you:
You will lie on a motorized bed that is wheeled into a gantry (tube), with scanner detectors are stationed all around you. Your doctor may administer an IV contrast dye that helps them obtain a clearer picture of your blood vessels. If IV contrast is used, you may experience a warm, flushed sensation and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes. Minor reactions can includ itching and hives, which can be relieved with medication. If you experience light-headedness or difficulty breathing, you should tell the technologist right away, as these can indicate a severe allergic reaction. The MRA typically takes 20 to 30 minutes.
During these tests, your vascular specialist uses imaging techniques to obtain detailed pictures of your veins to help diagnose your vascular condition.
This quick, painless test compares your blood pressure in multiple spots on your body to help determine whether you have peripheral artery disease.
This test uses X-rays to take detailed pictures of your blood vessels to help your vascular specialist diagnose your condition.
This non-invasive test uses ultrasound imaging to check your blood flow.
Duplex ultrasound — also known as a doppler test — is a way to evaluate the flow of blood through your arteries and veins. This non-invasive test provides information to help your Orlando Health specialist make an accurate diagnosis and outline a treatment plan.
Several types of arteries and veins can be studied by ultrasound to diagnose a variety of conditions, including:
Duplex ultrasound examinations are painless and easy. The vascular laboratory contains a bed and just two or three pieces of equipment. The examination can be done in comfortable clothing, or disposable shorts or gowns may be provided. The test usually only takes about 30 minutes.
There is little preparation required for duplex ultrasound. If you are undergoing an ultrasound of the abdomen, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for a period of time leading up to your exam.
There should not be any side effects following a vascular laboratory exam. In many cases, your Orlando Health doctor will have immediate access to your test results to begin quickly formulating your care plan.
If you have carotid artery disease, your doctor may recommend a carotid endarterectomy as your treatment. During this procedure, your surgeon will remove the plaque (buildup of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances) that is blocking the flow of blood in your carotid arteries, located on each side of your neck. This procedure helps lower the risk of you having a stroke.
During a carotid endarterectomy, you may be under local anesthesia, where only the area of the incision is numbed, or general anesthesia, where you will be asleep for the procedure.
Your surgeon begins by making an incision in the front of your neck. They carefully open your carotid artery and use tools to remove the plaque that’s clogging it. Your surgeon then repairs the artery with stitches or a mesh patch.
In most cases, you can expect to stay overnight in the hospital for one to two days after your carotid endarterectomy. You will likely have a sore throat and tender skin around the incision on your neck for a few days. Your surgeon will let you know if you need to follow a special diet afterward, such as eating soft, smooth foods.
You may need to stop taking certain medications prior to your carotid endarterectomy. Your surgeon will provide you with instructions specific to you and your situation before your surgery and for your follow-up care.
If your kidneys are no longer doing their usual job of cleaning your blood, you may need regular dialysis so a machine can help perform the job for you.
Hemodialysis removes waste products from your blood when your kidneys aren’t functioning properly. In order to perform hemodialysis, your vascular surgeon will need to place an access site in your body.
There are three types of access used in hemodialysis:
If you have one of the following conditions, your vascular specialist may recommend you receive hemodialysis:
The type of access you receive determines how soon you can begin receiving dialysis:
Your vascular surgeon may recommend an AV fistula for your hemodialysis access because it:
If you need to start receiving dialysis right away, your surgeon will likely recommend you receive venous catheter access.
To receive any type of hemodialysis access, you will be under local anesthesia, where only the affected area is numbed. Your vascular surgeon will make an incision and place the type of access that he or she has deemed the best fit for you and your needs.
Many times, access procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that you can return home the same day. In some cases, you may need to stay in the hospital for one night.
A peripherally inserted central catheter line — or PICC line — is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a vein and can be used to administer intravenous (IV) medications and fluids or to draw blood for laboratory testing. A PICC line is typically inserted into a smaller vein in your upper arm that feeds into a larger vein near your heart.
You may need a PICC line if you require an IV for a long period of time to deliver medications or nutrition. A PICC line can stay in for several months, if needed.
A PICC specialist inserts your PICC line under local anesthesia, with only the affected area numbed. The specialist uses ultrasound and X-ray imaging to guide their placement of the line. A PICC line has one to three access points that allow tubes containing medications or nutrition to be attached and enter the body. Blood can also be easily drawn from the PICC line. When not in use, the access points will be covered by sterile caps to reduce the risk of infection or other complications.
You’ll need to take special precautions to keep your PICC line clean and the area around it free of infection. Your vascular team will teach you how to flush the lines regularly, and we will change the dressing for you every week.
If your kidneys aren’t functioning properly, peritoneal dialysis helps remove waste products from your blood for them. Peritoneal dialysis is typically done at a health care facility, such as a dialysis clinic, but some people learn to do it at home. No matter where you have your dialysis performed, you will need to have a tube — or access site — placed in your body.
Compared with hemodialysis (another type of dialysis), benefits of peritoneal dialysis can include:
If you have one of the following conditions, your vascular specialist may recommend you start peritoneal dialysis:
Peritoneal dialysis may be a better option than hemodialysis if you:
Peritoneal dialysis may not work for you if you have:
You will be under local anesthesia when your access tube is placed, with only the affected area numbed. Your vascular surgeon will make an incision and thread a hollow, flexible tube called a peritoneal dialysis catheter into your lower abdomen. The catheter will stay in your body so you can receive dialysis
Your surgeon will use stitches to close the incision around the catheter, leaving a small piece of tube outside your body. This is called the access site and is where you will receive dialysis. You can expect the incision to be fully healed within about two weeks. After this time, you can start dialysis treatment.
Guidelines you should follow to keep your peritoneal dialysis access site healthy and functioning properly include:
If you have an aortic aneurysm, your vascular surgeon may recommend a procedure to repair the weakened artery using either open or endovascular surgery.
Your vascular surgeon may recommend surgical repair of your aortic aneurysm in the following situations:
Depending on a number of factors, your vascular surgeon may recommend either open or endovascular repair. Many patients prefer the less invasive endovascular option because it has a shorter recovery time, but in some cases, open repairs are necessary.
Prior to your repair procedure, you may need to stop taking certain medications. You will also likely need to abstain from eating and drinking for eight hours before your surgery.
This is the minimally invasive option for repairing an aortic aneurysm. During this procedure, you will be fully asleep under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make a small incision in your groin and thread a catheter (thin, flexible tube) through the incision to the weakened area of your aorta. Your surgeon will use special instruments to repair the aneurysm and place a stent (small, hollow tube) and/or graft (piece of tissue or other material) to support the weakened area. Your incision will be closed with stitches.
Your recovery time will typically be quicker with an endovascular procedure compared to an open procedure.
During this procedure, you will be fully asleep under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make a large incision to expose your aorta, and then use a graft (piece of tissue or other material) to repair the weak area of the aorta. Your incision will be closed with stitches.
A surgical bypass uses a graft to help restore blood flow to an artery that has been blocked. The graft can be synthetic (made of fabric or plastic) or natural (made of tissue). There are two main types of surgical bypasses that vascular surgeons perform:
If you have peripheral arterial disease and have one or more of the following symptoms, your vascular specialist may recommend a surgical bypass:
In most cases, a vascular specialist will try more conservative treatments (such as medication and wound care) and suggest certain lifestyle changes (such as exercise and quitting smoking) before recommending a surgical bypass.
During lower extremity (leg) bypass, you will be under general anesthesia, meaning you’ll be fully asleep. Your surgeon will create a bypass around the blockage. The bypass usually begins at your groin and ends at your inner knee, calf or foot. Your surgeon will make incisions at your groin and at the end point of the bypass and sew the graft — either synthetic (made of fabric or plastic) or natural (made of tissue) — in place to bypass the blockage. The incisions are closed with stitches.
The procedure can take anywhere from one-and-a-half to six hours. You can expect to stay in the hospital overnight for two to five days after the procedure. You may need to spend a short time in a rehabilitation facility to regain your strength after you leave the hospital.
During an aortic (abdomen) bypass, you will be under general anesthesia, meaning that you’ll be fully asleep. Your surgeon will make an incision in your abdomen near the blockage and sew the graft — either synthetic (made of fabric or plastic) or natural (made of tissue) — in place to bypass the blockage. The incisions are closed with stitches.
The procedure typically takes three to four hours, and you can expect to stay in the hospital overnight for a few days up to a week. You may need to spend a short time in a rehabilitation facility to regain your strength after you leave the hospital.
When a blood clot suddenly blocks a major artery or vein, it can be a life-threatening situation. Your vascular specialist may recommend thrombolytic therapy — or clot-busting medication — to quickly dissolve the clots. To be most effective, thrombolytic therapy needs to be administered as soon as possible.
Thrombolytic therapy can help break up clots caused by:
In most cases, thrombolytic therapy is administered via an intravenous (IV) line. If you need an IV line started, a nurse or other provider will begin one for you. Once in place, the thrombolytic therapy will be administered through the IV.
Alternately, your vascular surgeon may recommend you receive your thrombolytic therapy via catheter. In this case, the medication will be administered directly to the affected blood vessel.
During this procedure, your surgeon will thread a catheter (thin, flexible tube) through an incision and to the blood clot. The thrombolytic medication will be given through the catheter directly to break up the clot quickly. After the clot has been dissolved, the catheter will be removed, and your surgeon will close the incision with stitches.
During and after undergoing thrombolytic therapy, you will remain in the intensive care unit (ICU) for close monitoring of your heart and lungs. Thrombolytic therapy can take anywhere from 60 minutes to 48 hours, depending on the underlying cause of your clot.
Varicose veins are veins in which blood has pooled, causing them to bulge, twist and cause pain.
Some people with varicose veins do not experience pain or other bothersome symptoms and don’t need to undergo treatment. If you do experience pain due to your varicose veins, seek the expert guidance of an Orlando Health vascular surgeon to reduce your discomfort.
The good news is there are many effective treatment options available for those with varicose veins. Your vascular specialist will typically recommend you try certain lifestyle modifications as your initial course of treatment.
These modifications may include:
If lifestyle modifications are not enough to relieve your symptoms, your doctor may speak with you about one of the following surgical treatment options:
With this in-office treatment, your vascular surgeon injects the varicose veins with a solution that causes the vein to close. Sclerotherapy typically causes varicose veins to fade within a few weeks, but repeated treatments may be needed for the full effect.
With this treatment for smaller varicose veins, your vascular surgeon uses a laser to close off the vein, which makes it fade and disappear over time.
For these procedures, your surgeon makes an incision near the site of your varicose vein and threads a catheter (thin, flexible tube) into the incision and to the varicose vein. The surgeon then uses radiofrequency or laser energy through the catheter to the vein, which causes the vein to collapse and disappear. This treatment is generally recommended for larger varicose veins.
During this outpatient procedure, your vascular surgeon ties off the varicose vein just before it joins a deep vein. The varicose vein is then removed through small incisions.
This outpatient procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, meaning that only the area near your varicose veins is numbed. Your vascular surgeon removes small varicose veins with a series of tiny skin punctures.
For this outpatient procedure, your vascular surgeon uses a tiny camera inserted at the tip of a catheter threaded to your varicose vein. The surgeon uses the camera to remove the varicose vein through tiny incisions. This procedure is typically completed after other surgical treatments have not been effective.
The expert vascular surgeons at Orlando Health offer the latest treatments for a wide range of vascular conditions, including those listed below.
During this surgical procedure for carotid artery disease, your vascular surgeon removes plaque buildup from your artery to restore blood flow.
In order to receive hemodialysis (replaces the natural function of your kidneys), you’ll need to have an access placed in your body.
In order to receive peritoneal dialysis (replaces the natural function of your kidneys), you’ll need to have an access placed in your body.
If you have an aortic aneurysm at risk of rupturing, you may need to have it surgically repaired.
A peripherally inserted central catheter line — or PICC line — can deliver medication or nutrients intravenously (through an IV) for a long period of time.
When an artery is blocked, your vascular surgeon can create a new route for blood to flow — or a bypass around the blockage.
If you develop a sudden blood clot, your vascular team can administer thrombolytic therapy to break up the clot and restore blood flow.
Our vascular surgeons offer a number of treatments for varicose veins, depending on the size of the veins and other factors.