VASCULAR Terminology

Surgical bypass treats your narrowed arteries by directly creating a detour, or bypass, around a section of the artery that is blocked. Your arteries are normally smooth and unobstructed on the inside but they can become blocked through a process called atherosclerosis, which means hardening of the arteries. As you age, a sticky substance called plaque can build up in the walls of your arteries. Cholesterol, calcium, and fibrous tissue make up the plaque. As more plaque builds up, your arteries can narrow and stiffen. Eventually, as the process progresses, your blood vessels can no longer supply the oxygen demands of your organs or muscles, and symptoms may develop.

Artery

Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart.

Carotid artery disease occurs when the major arteries in your neck become narrowed or blocked. These arteries, called the carotid arteries, supply your brain with blood. Your carotid arteries extend from your aorta in your chest to the brain inside your skull.

Leg artery disease (peripheral arterial disease or PAD) can cause discomfort or pain when you walk. While the pain most often occurs in the calf it can also occur in your hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, shins, or upper feet. This pain is called intermittent claudication.

Dialysis

Dialysis, also called hemodialysis, is the most common treatment for kidney failure. A dialysis machine is an artificial kidney designed to remove impurities from your blood. During dialysis, physicians use the dialysis access to remove a portion of your blood to circulate it through the dialysis machine so it can remove impurities and regulate fluid and chemical balances. The purified blood is then returned to you, again through the dialysis access.

Arteries bring oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body, whereas your veins are the blood vessels that return oxygen-poor blood back to your heart. You have three kinds of veins. Superficial veins lie close to your skin, and the deep veins lie in groups of muscles. Perforating veins connect the superficial veins to the deep veins with one-way valves. Deep veins lead to the vena cava, your body's largest vein, which runs directly to your heart. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in one of the deep veins. Usually, DVT occurs in your pelvis, thigh, or calf, but it can also occur less commonly in your arm, chest, or other locations.

Renovascular conditions affect the blood vessels of your kidneys, called the renal arteries and veins. When the blood flow is normal through your kidneys, your kidneys rid your body of wastes. The kidneys filter these wastes into your urine, which collects in your bladder, and from there the wastes exit your body when you urinate. Your kidneys also help control your blood pressure by sensing the blood pressure and secreting a hormone, called renin, into your bloodstream. The amount of renin secreted by your kidneys can help regulate your blood pressure if it is too high or too low. When your kidney blood vessels narrow or have a clot, your kidney is less able to do its work. Your physician may diagnose you with renal artery stenosis or renal vein thrombosis.

Lymphedema occurs when a clear fluid known as lymphatic fluid builds up in the soft tissues of your body, usually in an arm or leg. The lymphatic system consists of lymph vessels and lymph nodes that run through your body. Lymph vessels collect a fluid that is made up of protein, water, fats, and wastes from the cells of the body. Lymph vessels carry this fluid to your lymph nodes. Lymph nodes filter waste materials and foreign products, and then return the fluid to your blood. If your vessels or nodes become damaged or are missing, the lymph fluid cannot move freely through the system. The fluids can then build up and cause swelling, known as lymphedema, in the affected arms or legs.

Your arteries carry blood rich in oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. When an artery between your chest and your hand becomes blocked, your arm or hand does not receive enough blood or oxygen. You may have a condition called arm artery disease.

Spider veins are mild varicose veins. They look like a nest of red or blue lines just under your skin. Spider veins are not a serious medical problem, but they can be a cosmetic concern to some people, and they can cause symptoms of aching pain and itching in others.

Renal artery stenosis is the narrowing of kidney arteries. This condition may cause high blood pressure and may eventually lead to kidney failure. Renal vein thrombosis means that you have a blood clot blocking a vein in your kidney. Blood clots in renal veins are uncommon and rarely affect the kidney, but they can sometimes travel to and lodge in arteries supplying your lungs, causing a dangerous condition called a pulmonary embolism.

Sometimes people who have potentially threatening vascular disease may not be aware of its presence because warning symptoms have not yet developed. For this reason, vascular screening is used as a method to detect the presence of serious vascular disease in the general population before it has a chance to cause harm.

Sometimes people who have potentially threatening vascular disease may not be aware of its presence because warning symptoms have not yet developed. For this reason, vascular screening is used as a method to detect the presence of serious vascular disease in the general population before it has a chance to cause harm.

Vascular Surgeon

A vascular surgeon diagnoses and treats disorders of the veins and arteries as well as the lymphatic system.

Varicose veins are swollen veins that you can see through your skin. They often look blue, bulging, and twisted. Left untreated, varicose veins may worsen over time. Varicose veins can cause aching and feelings of fatigue as well as skin changes like rashes, redness, and sores. As many as 40 million Americans, most of them women, have varicose veins.