Peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD)

PAOD, the abbreviation for peripheral arterial occlusive disease, describes a narrowing (stenosis) or complete blockage (occlusion) of the arm or leg arteries. By far the most important cause of PAOD is atherosclerosis, which is among the most common diseases in the western world.

Calcification of the arteries is caused by risk factors such as smoking, elevated blood sugar levels (diabetes mellitus), high blood pressure or a lipid metabolism disorder.

At the beginning of the disease, patients usually have no symptoms, although the calcification of the arteries is already present. If the arteriosclerosis increases over time, the organ that is supplied with nutrients and oxygen by the artery may malfunction. The arteries of the arm or leg can be affected by PAOD, as well as arteries that supply blood to the bowel or other internal organs.

Window shopper's disease

The most common form of PAOD is that of the arteries of the leg. Around 1 million people in Germany suffer from the so-called "window shopper's disease". The poor blood supply to the legs due to the constricted vessels forces patients to stop after a few metres of walking due to cramps in the calf. Those affected must take a break so that their legs can recover. If the disease progresses, the pain can already occur at rest. In severe cases, open wounds on the legs can occur without injury ("smoker's leg").

Our treatment offer

In order to find out whether your symptoms can be explained by a vasoconstriction, we use the entire diagnostic spectrum. Learn more about vascular diagnostics here.
If you suffer from PAOD, there are many ways to relieve your symptoms. We create an individual treatment concept for each patient. For this purpose, we have all modern therapy methods at our disposal. These include:

  • Conservative/drug therapy
    We recommend conservative therapy in the early stages of PAOD. It includes the intake of medication to stimulate the blood circulation, a good adjustment of the risk factors as well as guided walking training. Regular medical check-ups are important in order to detect any deterioration at an early stage.
  • Catheter method with vessel dilatation and stent implantation
    Often this procedure can be performed under local anesthesia, i.e. the vessel does not have to be opened. As with a cardiac catheter, a catheter is pushed into the narrowed artery through a small puncture in the groin. The dilation of the narrowed vessel (angioplasty) can be performed alone or with the insertion of a "metal grid tube" (stent). This method of intervention is very gentle and usually requires only a short stay in the hospital.
  • Open Surgery
    If the catheter procedure reaches its limits, open surgical therapy is the best way to improve blood circulation again. There are many different procedures to choose from. Endarterectomy describes the removal of calcifications from the vessel so that it can flow freely again. A bypass allows the blood to be diverted via the body's own vein or a tube made of artificial material (Dacron or polyester), which is connected to the artery above and below the occluded vessel. Here too, it is important to find the best procedure for the individual patient when selecting the operation.
  • Combination of open surgery and the catheter procedure
    The combination of the above-mentioned procedures enables us to treat even complex lesions at various points of the vascular system. The open-surgical part of the operation - and thus the stress for the patient - can be kept as low as possible. Since both open surgery and catheter treatment are among our specialties, we offer these so-called "hybrid interventions" in many variations.

There are advantages and disadvantages of all the listed treatment options, which we will be happy to explain to you in more detail in a personal consultation.