Vein & Vascular Institute
The Arkansas Heart Hospital’s Vein & Vascular Institute is the first and only institute in Arkansas dedicated to identifying, treating and managing peripheral vascular disease (PVD) along with other circulatory conditions affecting the limbs such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and lymphedema.
If you’re experiencing swelling, pain or discomfort in your legs, it may be a sign of a vein and vascular condition. Request an appointment at Arkansas Heart Hospital Vein & Vascular Institute via the form below.
Why Choose the Vein & Vascular Institute?
Our goal is clearly stated: to keep PVD patients away from amputation and to restore function. We provide a complete complement of interventional and treatment options for patients suffering from decreased mobility, pain and dysfunction associated with PVD.
- Specially trained vascular staff and expert interventional cardiologists devoted to treating vascular disease
- Physicians & mid-level providers dedicated to detection, treatment and management of PVD
- Compassionate & knowledgeable staff who are licensed, trained & certified
- Highest quality in patient care
- Comprehensive testing & vascular imaging
- Minimally invasive endovascular procedures
- Screening programs for at-risk patients
For more information about our vein and vascular services, please complete the form below and a member of our team will connect with you.
With each beat, your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Arteries carry this blood to your organs and muscles. Veins then return the oxygen-poor blood to your heart. This cycle works well when the arteries and veins are healthy. However, if a blood vessel is damaged, blood flow may be slowed or blocked. Consequently, your muscles and tissues don’t get all the oxygen they need or blood and lymphatic fluid may not return as it should.
- Healthy Artery – An artery is a muscular tube. It has a smooth lining and flexible walls that allow blood to pass freely. When active, muscles need more oxygen, requiring increased blood flow. Healthy arteries can adapt to meet this need.
- Damaged Artery – PVD begins when the lining of an artery is damaged. This is often due to a risk factor such as smoking or diabetes. Plaque then starts to form within the artery wall. At this stage, blood flows normally, so you’re not likely to have symptoms.
- Narrowed Artery – If plaque continues to build up, space inside the artery narrows and artery walls become less able to expand. The artery still provides enough blood and oxygen to your muscles during rest. However, when you’re active, the increased demand for blood can’t be met. As a result, your leg may cramp or ache.
- Blocked Artery – An artery can become blocked by plaque or by a blood clot lodged in a narrowed section. When this happens, oxygen can’t reach the muscle be- low the blockage. Then you may feel pain when lying down (rest pain). This type of pain is especially common at night when you’re lying flat. In time, the affected tissue can die. This can lead to the loss of a toe or foot.
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD/PAD)
Peripheral vascular disease refers to diseases of blood vessels outside the heart and brain. It is a narrowing of vessels that carry blood to the legs, arms, stomach or kidneys. It is sometimes referred to as PAD and can be caused by fatty buildups (atherosclerosis) in the inner walls of arteries. These deposits block or restrict normal blood flow. PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation of limbs. If the blockage occurs in a carotid artery, it can cause a stroke. Patients with PAD have a higher risk of death from heart attack and stroke.
Diagnosing PAD begins with a medical history and physical exam. A simple test non-invasive test called the ABI (ankle brachial index) may be done in the office to determine the likelihood of PAD. The ABI is much like taking a blood pressure in the legs.
- Pain or discomfort in the legs and buttocks during activity
Treatment includes lifestyle changes, medications or both.
- Stopping smoking
- Controlling diabetes
- Controlling blood pressure
- Being physically active
- Eating a diet low in saturated and trans fats
- Antiplatelet agents to prevent blood clots
- Cholesterol-lowering medication
- High blood pressure medication
Causes/Risk Factors for PVD
- Smoking (4x more likely to get PAD)
- Heart conditions & high blood pressure
- Over 70 years old
- Being overweight or obese
- Family history of PVD
Millions of Americans are unable to remain physically active because of leg pain caused by PVD. If left untreated, PVD can lead to amputation and can put you at greater risk for heart attack and stroke.
Lymphedema is a swelling of a body part, most often the extremities and is the result of an accumulation of protein-rich fluid in the superficial tissues, which can have significant consequences for the patient if left untreated.
Primary lymphedema is caused by congenital malformations of the lymphatic system and may be present at birth or develop later in life. Primary forms usually affect the lower extremities but may also be present in upper extremities.
Secondary lymphedema is more common and often the result of surgery or radiation therapy for cancer. Other causes include trauma or infection. Severe venous insufficiencies may also contribute to the onset of lymphedema. Secondary lymphedema may affect the upper or lower extremity.
- Medications: Diuretics are often prescribed in order to control lymphedema but are proven to have very poor long-term results in the treatment of this condition.
- Surgery: Surgical procedures for lymphedema do not show consistent results.
- Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT): Since there is no cure for lymphedema, the goal of the therapy is to reduce the swelling and to maintain the reduction. For the majority of the patients, this can be achieved by the skillful application of this therapy, which is safe, reliable, and noninvasive. CDT shows good long-term results. It consists of two phases and the following combined modalities:
- Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD): This gentle manual treatment technique increases the activity of certain lymph vessels and manually moves the interstitial fluid. Applied correctly, a series of MLD treatments decreases the volume of the affected extremity to a normal or near normal size.
- Compression Therapy: Layered bandaging with foam or specially fitted garments that support the swollen area to control swelling.
- Exercises: A customized exercise program is designed by the therapist for each patient. With compression, special exercises will help to pump lymph out of the swollen area.
- Skin Care: Keeping the skin clean and moisturized will help to prevent infections that often can happen with lymphedema.
- Swelling of part or all of your arm or leg, including fingers or toes
- A feeling of heaviness or tightness
- Restricted range of motion
- Aching or discomfort
- Recurring infections
- Hardening & thickening of the skin (fibrosis)
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
The veins in your legs carry blood back to your heart. They have one-way valves that keep blood from flowing backward. If you have CVI, the valves don’t work like they should and some of the blood may go back down into your legs. That causes blood to pool or collect in the veins. Over time, CVI can cause pain, swelling and skin changes in your legs. Symptoms will worsen over time if left untreated.
You may notice these in your legs:
- Swelling or heaviness
- Pain or Itchiness
- Varicose veins
- Skin changes and ulcers
Without treatment, the pressure and swelling will burst the tiny blood vessels in your legs called capillaries. That could turn your skin red- dish-brown, especially near the ankles. This can lead to swelling and ulcers, which are tough to heal and more likely to get infected.
Women are more likely than men to get CVI. Your chances also might be higher if you are:
- A Smoker
- Pregnant or Have Been Pregnant
- Patient with History of Blood Clots
- Over 50
- Overweight or Obese
- Family History of CVI
Targeted Endovenous Therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that treats varicose veins and venous reflux, with little or no pain. With ultrasound, a catheter is positioned into the diseased vein through a small opening in the skin. The tiny catheter powered by radiofrequency (RF) energy delivers controlled heat to the vein wall causing the collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close. Once closed, blood will re-route itself to healthy veins. In some cases medications or med- ical grade adhesives are used to obtain these effects and aid in the re-routing process.
- Relief of symptoms within a few days
- Minimally invasive Outpatient procedure
- Performed under local anesthesia
- Resume normal activities in a few days*
- May be beneficial in healing of long term venous ulcerations and wounds