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Peripheral Angioplasty (Angioplasty in the Legs)

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Angioplasty / stenting of the arteries in the legs and other non-coronary areas is referred to as "peripheral angioplasty". Post questions and experiences about peripheral angioplasty here.

94 earlier postings from this topic can be found here: 2010 and earlier

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Current Postings on This Page (105):

• Vind - We don't give out medical advice, but your vascular surgeon knows your mother's clinical status best - perhaps you might want a second opinion. As far as age goes, we'd refer you to our editor's blog about the beginnings of angioplasty in 1964 by Dr. Charles Dotter. He performed it in the leg of an 82-year-old women and prevented the amputation of her foot.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, September 21, 2019

• My 98 year old mother has a suspected occlusion near right second and third toes leading to a wound that will not heal. The wound surgeon says unless the circulation is improved the wound will not heal. My mom who was very active until about two months ago has now become depressed about the wound (according to her) and eats little and sleeps all the time, and is in pain intermittently from the wound. The vascular surgeon is in two minds to do the angioplasty because of age, I am too, my mother wants it. What would be your opinion?
Vind Amara, Colombo, Sri Lanka, September 15, 2019

• Please help. My S.O. Just had his 3rd leg Angioplasty procedure last Monday. Jan 26th. He has been doing fine until recently, his legs and feet are feeling numb. His doctor rushed him through his post op checkup and just said he needs to be back in 3 months for another procedure on the other leg....
Sandy, Danville, California, USA, February 5, 2015

• Loving Wife in Illinois - We can't give this type of advice and each patient's clinical picture is different. From your description, your husband has coronary and peripheral stents - this is the same disease, atherosclerosis, just in different parts of the body's circulation. The best thing he can do is to try and lessen all of his modifiable risk factors (smoking, diet, exercise) and stay on the prescribed medications. But sometimes the family history and genetics winds up determining the progressionof this disease. The question about the 60% is whether or not these blockages are affecting his circulation significantly and causing symptoms.

And Dusty in Florida - Without seeing the angiograms, it's hard to say, but a blockage in the left leg may well be accessed from the right femoral artery, especially if the left femoral has significant disease that might make access difficult.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, June 25, 2013

• My husband needs to have stents down both of his legs again the doctor says his only 60% blocked and acted like it was no big deal to have it done right now he already has two down each leg and 2 in the heart and it is getting harder for him to walk and his Testicles get ice cold when we told the doctor this he didn't say much can you tell me if we need to do it right away or is it no big deal and can wait like the doctor say.
Loving wife, Galesburg, Illinois, USA, June 24, 2013

• Wife is having angioplasty on both legs starting with the left and, approx. a month from now, the right. The incision and the bruising is on her right thigh. We were told the left leg was done from the right thigh. Could it be we were misinformed and the right was done first? Or is the left done from the right side?
Dusty, Ocala, Florida, USA, June 16, 2013

• Rajesh in Jakarta -- Where was the angioplasty? It's probably not a problem, but you really should ask the cardiologist or radiologist who did the procedure since we can't dispense medical advice, and don't even know which one of your leg arteries was involved.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, June 4, 2013

• Dear sir, I had an angioplasty 3 weeks back. Please advise i can go for foot massage. please advise, thanks
rajesh k., Jakarta, Indonesia, June 2, 2013

• Kayse -- Drug-eluting stents have been used with some success, although the only FDA-approved drug-eluting stent, the Zilver, was just recalled for a delivery syste problem. Hopefully it will be back in use soon.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 31, 2013

• Is there a cure for PAD? My husband had bypass in his right leg twice and they both failed. He had a cath and they used the balloon, laser and medicines to break up the clog. Still didn't work. Is there anything else that can be done to open the veins?
kayse, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA, May 29, 2013

• Deborah RN MSN, I am searching for videos and/or pictures to develop an educational presentation for staff in the PACU, Recovery Room. Certainly no identifying information needed. My plan is to concentrate on changes caused by atherosclerosis that resulted in surgery, I.e. carotid endarterectomy, aorta-iliac or femoral bypass, fem pop bypasses etc, with or without stenting. I then will work toward the nursing care postoperative using specific information such as cross-clamping of certain vessels and things to be alert to monitor. Is there any information, photos, videos or anything I can have. I am an individual RN without any hospital funding. Thank you to anyone who can help my presentation. I have 3 weeks to completion from today.
Deborah RN, Missouri, USA, May 29, 2013

• Tigger in UK -- Read our Forum Topic on "Complications from Femoral (Leg) Catheterization, Angiogram or Angioplasty" for more posts on this particular issue. You also should discuss this with the cardiologist who did the procedure.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 23, 2013

• Hi, I had a failed angioplasty a year ago but still have tenderness in my right leg where the tube was inserted. My thigh is still tender and I feel unwell when the pain comes on. I find it difficult to walk so I have to sit a lot. Any ideas? Thank you in advance.
Tigger, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom, May 19, 2013

• Henry in Germany -- We can't give medical advice per se, but can tell you that there is much debate about the best treatment options in this area. One reason is that there are three different specialities that all treat patients with PAD: vascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, and interventional radiologists. Although some vascular surgeons also do interventional work (i.e. angioplasty) some do not, and there's a bit of a turf war among these three specialities. In any case, angioplasty was first invented to treat PAD. (You can read about this in our Editor's Blog, "Angioplasty: From the Legs to the Heart and Back to the Legs.") And where much of this occurred was right in Nuremburg, where in the 1970's Dr. Eberhard Zeitler held the first courses for doctors interested in peripheral angioplasty. So in Bayern you're already in a center for peripheral angioplasty and you should be able to get a second or third opinion or your best options.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 22, 2013

• Hello I am trying to find a little information or advice for my wife and would greatly appreciate any response. My wife (52) went many years with a misdiagnosed thoracic disk protrusion 9/10 after being discovered end of 2010 my wife was told she needed to be immediately operated on because of possible spinal compression .After the operation she was left partially paralyzed she is numb from the belly button down but mainly very little strength in the left leg my wife uses a wheelchair. Beginning in 2012 my wife was diagnosed with PAD stage 2b/ Category 3 and had pretty extensive angioplasty on her left leg four hours. My wife was recently diagnosed on same leg PAD Category 4 borderline 5 she had a little open wound but it heeled with antibiotics from IV but measured 0 for pressure at ankle but the angiogram showed circulation. The surgeon wanted to perform a Femoropopliteal Bypass and told us it was no big deal a routine operation. But being more careful now after our past experience we got a second opinion from a local university hospital and the professor examined my wife with ultrasound and said that would be a bad idea because my wife's leg blood vessel had too many branching vessels that made it impossible to use and that they would have to use artificial vessels and for my wife that would be a bad idea for my wife because of her immobility. We reside in Germany and I wanted to bring my wife to the Mayo clinic in Scottsdale for treatment but our family doctor here told us it was too dangerous for her to fly and the doctors have told us that another angioplasty would not be helpful. But from what I have read would angioplasty with rehabilitation not be the best choice. Thanks for any response regards.
Henry, Bayern, Germany, May 22, 2013

• Amy in Phillipsburg - This topic is about peripheral angioplasty and stents, which is not what you had. You should discuss your issues with a vascular surgeon, perhaps the one who did the fem-pop bypass. He/she may be able to prescribe either medications or recommend some type of compression stocking.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 20, 2013

• Ok I have a question I am 34 and received a fem pop bypass due to a fall I suffered in 2011 where my femoral artery was damaged .The surgery went well but I am suffering with a lot of other damage I also obtained a knee replacement a year later .I am pretty much fighting for the rest of my life to get out of bed everyday. But my question is I have a lot of swelling around my ankle what can I do
Amy Stass, Phillipsburg, New York, USA, April 11, 2013

• In 2007 I had 2 iliac stents one blocked immediately and urgent femoral crossover bypass was done. This is now almost totally blocked and my next op will be aorta/femoral bypass which I am very high risk for due to other health problems. I am told the success rate is not that good for this op. Does anyone know of someone surviving that has had this. My surgeon says it would be a graft from above naval to just above knees in both legs. Any input please.
Diane, Birmingham, United Kingdom, February 16, 2013

• Cutler5327 in UK -- Yours is clearly a complex case, given the prior surgeries, etc. It's not possible for us to give you specifics as to your situation, but we would suggest sitting down with the doctor who is going to actually perform the stenting and discuss the risk/benefits, etc. and make sure you have all the information. For some general guidelines, check out our article on "Talking to your Doctor."
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 12, 2013

• What are the difficulties in bilateral iliac artery angioplasty, when involving prior bilateral femoral/popliteal bypass grafts. I am a 68 year old male, I have had the following, 2008 triple CABG, 2009 internal Carotid Endarterectomy and diagnosed with prostate cancer, 2010 right femoral artery endarterectomy and failed right femoral bypass and urethrotomy, 2011 radical prostectomy and redo right femoral bypass, 2012 left femoral bypass. In December I have been told that my right iliac artery is 75% blocked and the left iliac artery slightly less blocked and that I needed to have angioplasty and possibly stents.
Cutler5327, Birmingham, United Kingdom, January 7, 2013

• South Texas -- Migration of a stent to an unintended place is, of course, an adverse event. There are some "retrieval" devices available, but the stent may have moved to a place too dangerous or difficult to retrieve. This is not a common occurrence. Whether or not it has the potential to cause harm depends on a number of things. Have you consulted with the cardiologist or vascular surgeon on this issue? If not you definitely should.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, October 1, 2012

• Dr. loses the stent and it flows to a leg and becomes lodged there and is left there. Is this dangerous or bad to be left there.? What is the correct action?
South Texas, Texas, USA, September 30, 2012

• Brian in England -- The question of whether an angioplasty in your legs will help may be answered by imaging to determine if there is a blockage causing reduced blood flow. If som a repeat angioplasty can certainly be done. Also since 12 years ago, there are some newer devices that may decrease the chances of the arteries reblocking, namely stents and a new type of drug-eluting balloon, that is being studied now. You should ask your cardiologist or radiologist or vascular surgeon (especially if that surgeon does endovascular procedures like angioplasty.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, September 20, 2012

• I had an angioplasty in both legs in May 2000. About two years later the pain in my legs returned, mainly in the calf area. I am 69 years old and have had both hips replaced and an operation on my aorta to prevent an aneurysm. Is there any reason why I should not have the angioplasty procedure carried out on both legs again or is there more risk a second time. Also, please tell me how stents work in the leg and are they an alternative to angioplasty?
Brian, Congleton, Cheshire, England, September 4, 2012

• Stents in Perth -- Buerger's Disease, as you probably know, is very rare but is strongly associated with smoking. A stent can open a blockage up, but it doesn't "cure" the disease. Mayo Clinic has a good section on Buerger's, specifically about treatments and drugs. But the disease is activated by nicotine, so even a few cigarettes or even nicotine replacement treatments (which contain nicotine) will worsen it.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, August 31, 2012

• I recently was diagnosed with Buerger's disease. My pinky toe tip turned black as it was wasn't getting proper nutrients and it was amputated . I had ballooning and a stent placed in my left shin about 2 weeks ago . I was wondering how successful this method is for treating blocked arteries in the lower leg and if this it possible for my arteries to become blocked again Even if I take my medication and never smoke again .
Stents in lower leg, Perth, Western Australia, August 31, 2012

• I have an appointment for a diagnosis on the 9th May, I asked the lady who phoned me if it would be possible to have both the diagnosis and treatment on the same day, the answer was no which means quite possibly, a long wait between appointments. Back and leg pain has been quite powerful over the last 24hrs
Ian, Canada, None, Alberta, Canada, May 1, 2012

• Ian -- you are welcome. So are there any Canadians out there with any suggestions for Ian??
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 30, 2012

• I really appreciate the feedback from this site. I moved to this town and the only person i know is an ex army mate who has just lost his right leg below the knee, other than him , there is no one who i know that could drive me. The hospital in this town does not have a cardiologist, everything that was suggested is in Calgary 300kms away. I have had three local Doctors at the local hospital diagnose a stent blockage in my leg, as we all know , once a referral has been made, it takes quite some time for the actual first visit to the vascular surgeon, depending on his findings, the second visit if it get's that far would and should be , doing the business to the existing stent. My major worry is and would be, is there any damage to my leg happening whilst i am in this waiting period. Again, thank you for your input
Ian Canada, I live at home, Alberta, Canada, April 30, 2012

• Ian in Canada -- Endocet is also known as Percocet. It is a pain-killer, for sure. Gabapentin is also known as Neurontin -- it has been used in patients who have nerve problems or leg pain. But the underlying cause of your pain seems to be the blockage. We're sorry that you are at least a 3-4 hour drive from a vascular surgeon. Perhaps there is a way you could expedite this and only have to make a single trip for diagnosis and treatment? Maybe a friend could help drive? You could also see an interventional cardiologist or radiologist who could try another balloon and/or stent. After all, angioplasty was invented first for patients like yourself, who had blockages in their legs.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 30, 2012

• I went to my family doctor and showed him my right leg and told him about the problems i have just walking, I am now on a powerful medication, Endocet & Gabapentin, they do nothing at all for the pain, just puts me in a position where i don't care about the pain. The Doctor just looked at my leg and gave me a prescription for the above medication, I can only take the meds when i am in the house. The vascular surgeon is 300kms away, not an easy drive, I have been referred to him but as i said in my first letter, it may take months before i see him and he will only confirm about the blockage, then i have to wait again for an opening to get the blockage dealt with. In the meantime, I am scared to death of something sinister happening to this lack of blood to my right leg. The pain is constant 24 hrs a day, if i do any work such as making a meal at the stove or washing the dishes and standing on the leg, I get a murderous pain running down my leg which basically stops at my right knee, my knee get so much pain that i cant bear to touch it, the rest of the leg looks white. I get this nasty feeling that if something is not done pretty soon, I may lose the leg below the knee
Ian, I live at home, Alberta, Canada, April 30, 2012

• Jul in Georgia -- Haven't heard of anyone having to lie still for 24 hours! Maybe 5 or 6. What artery was the stent placed in? If you read our Forum Topic on Complications from Femoral (Leg) Catheterization, Angiogram or Angioplasty, you'll find many other patients with similar complaints.

And Ian in Canada -- Have your doctors discussed reopening the blocked stent with a balloon? Or another stent? Months to see a physician when you're in the state you describe seems long. Have you indicated how advanced the situation is??
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 30, 2012

• Is lower back pain and swelling of upper right hip area normal after stent being placed in right thigh? I had to lie still for 24 hours after implantation. Discharged next day after procedure.
Jul in Georgia, , Albany, Georgia, USA, April 29, 2012

• I had a stent placed in the artery going into my right leg approx 7 years ago, I have been suffering massive back and leg pain to the point where I am barely able to walk, the doctors have told me that the stent is completely blocked, an appointment has been made to see the vascular surgeon, but that could be months away, I live on my own and find very difficult to do simple things such as getting groceries or mowing the lawn,What are the dangers of this blockage to my right leg, I get a lot of pain in my right knee and it turns the colour of a plum, any advice would be very welcome
Ian, Single person at home, Alberta, Canada, April 28, 2012

• Can some interventional radiologist guide me that Is it necessary to have cover of vascular surgeon while doing angioplasty of lower limb or interventional radiologist can do angioplasty by its own alone. Thanks.
Indus Hospital Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan, April 12, 2012

• rch in Belgium -- Angioplasty and stenting are not cures for atherosclerosis, but they can be used for symptom relief, especially when medications alone are not enough. If your relative is in pain and/or having difficulty walking because of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) then stenting or angioplasty might be helpful. There are new stents (such as the Zenith by Cook) and drug-eluting balloons (such as the IN.PACT by Medtronic) -- the balloon option is interesting in that no stent is left behind in the artery -- but these devices have had very good success rates. A peripheral artery intervention does not involve general anesthesia -- only a local and possibly a sedative. The various complications you mention (bleeding, torn artery, etc.) are, of course, possible, as they are in any medical procedure for patients of any age. As for judging the range of improvement, you need to ask this question of the doctor who is recommending the procedure, since he/she has the angiograms on which the recommendation is based. Finally, 50% is kind of the "tipping point" for an intervention, so you are correct in wanting to get assurance that the risk/benefit ratio of doing the angioplasty is worth it.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 6, 2012

• My wife's uncle came out of the hospital today after being treated for severe eczema. The Doctor wants him to come back on Monday for stent placement in both legs, during different sittings. The medical report said he had 50% arterial blockage in both legs. What range of improvement can he expect from this procedure? 60%, 80% 90%? He is 82 years old and obviously experiencing discomfort, but will the potential benefits warrant an operation at his age? Also considering the other potential complications, general anaesthesia, bleeding, possible torn artery, etc. He also has Arthritis in most of his other joints. We would have asked the surgeon these questions but he left for the long weekend before we were able to ask. Thanks for your thoughts.
rch, Brussels, Belgium, April 6, 2012

• Brack2 -- We have cross-posted your question from our Forum Topic on "Allergic Reactions to Drug-Eluting Stents". You might be allergic to the metal in the stents, but we have not heard of that causing excess blood clots (thomboses). Check out our related topic on "Metal (Nickel) Allergies" as well. Has there been any additional imaging (for example with intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) to check on the stent placement and if there is full expansion of the stent or malapposition, where the stent has moved away from the vessel wall?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 6, 2012

• I had a DVT in my left knee. May-Thurners was found and treated. I now have 6 stents from the top of both iliac veins into the bottom of the ivc. They have occluded 3 times since DEC 11. I had clot buster done on me a month ago and i think it is happening again. I am taking Pradaxa 150mg X 2 daily. I have been on Coumadin, Lovenox, and arixtra. My DVT in my leg is gone but I only clot in the stents, on anti-coags. Starting to think it is an allergy. Dr.s here in Savannah don't know what it is. No genetic disorders found by 2 hematologists. Any thoughts from your experiences?
Brack2, Savannah, Georgia, USA, April 6, 2012

• Lizzie in Indiana -- When there are blocked arteries in the legs, it is hard, if not impossible, to thread a catheter up into the coronary arteries in the heart, in order to do angioplasty and stenting. Two other pathways are through the brachial artery in the elbow, or the radial artery in the wrist. The radial artery is actually the preferred approach for many physicians, especially in Europe. Read more about this in our Radial Access Section.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 17, 2012

• My mom has blockage in both legs they want to go thru her artery in her arms thru her heart to get to the blockage. I am very worried about this? She has already had heart bypass surgery 4 year ago.
Lizzie, Richmond, Indiana, USA, March 13, 2012

• In May of 2010 I woke up and felt like I had cement poured all into my legs. After 6 weeks of tests, found out that my Inferior Vena Cava filter was full of clots, therefore blocking all circulation to my legs. Then had 9 stents inserted into the worst of the two legs. A year and a half later, I still have massive swelling of my right leg and moderate swelling of the left. I thought the stents would be my cure. My quality of life has gone down drastically. I am always having to hide the appearance of my legs and cannot fit in most shoes. I usually wear flip flops most of the time. Wish the stents had worked.
always clotting, Beaumont, Texas, USA, March 3, 2012

• Padmaja -- We wish we could give more specific advice, but we don't and can't give such advice in place of a medical doctor. Especially in your husband's case which is somewhat complex, given his history of bypasses, occlusions, etc. We would suggest getting opinions from both a vascular surgeon AND and interventionalist (cardiology or radiology) as to what is possible and what is the best way forward. Perhaps you can find a clinic where both specialities consult together to setermine what is best for the patient.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 2, 2012

• my husband 60 yrs old non diabetic, HT pt (ex smoker) he underwent CEA 1995 ( Now it is occluded running on collaterals) had aortic stent and Fem -Pop bypass in 2006 fem-pop occluded and had thromboembolectomy and fasciotomy in 2011 Now his CT reveals Tight >80% ostial stenosis of superior mesenteric artery, and occluded fem-pop bypass with good collateral reformation of popliteal and posterior tibial arteries. occlusion of rt anterior tibial and peroneal arteries. kindly advise line treatment / surgery presently he is on medication. regards padmaja
padmaja, house wife, New Delhi, India, March 2, 2012

• GraceB in Oakland -- The Complete SE (self-expanding) Stent is made by Medtronic, not Abbott. You can read a recent article about it "Medtronic Stent Resulted in 90% Freedom from Reinterventions in Narrowed Leg Arteries at 12 Months in International Study" on Angioplasty.Org. It is not a drug-eluting stent but the labeling states that medication after stent placement should be determined by the physician. Remember, the purpose of Plavix and aspirin is to prevent stent thrombosis,or a blood clot in the stent. These drugs do not prevent restenosis, re-blocking of the stent by excess tissue growth. Best way to reduce the risk of disease progression and restenosis is to take all prescribed medications, watch diet, stop smoking, and exercise, according to your physician's suggestions. Again, we cannot give medical advice, but we would think that taking Plavix would probably not be necessary for 6 months. But discuss this with your cardiologist, because every patient and clinical situation is different.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 1, 2012

• My brother was undergoing a heart cath, when a dissection was noted in his external iliac artery. An 8 mm x 8 cm (Complete Abbott self-expanding stent, nitinol) was placed. It was noted that his femoral, common iliac, etc. were widely patent. Is this stent a drug-eluting stent or a bare metal stent? He is hoping not to be on Plavix (and aspirin) for more than 6 months, as he is listed for a kidney/pancreas transplant and hoping he can still have the operation. What is the best protocol for preventing restenosis? Does walking/exercise help prevent this? He is diabetic (w/neuropathy), with high-blood pressure and on dialysis.
GraceB, Oakland, California, USA, February 29, 2012

• Re in India -- Your father has atherosclerosis, blocking of the arteries, which is the same disease -- but it occurs in different parts of the circulation. It is good that the doctor thinks he can open the blocked kidney because all of these procedures require contrast dye to see the x-ray image. And contrast dye can damage the kidney if too much is used. The question about the 100% block in the leg and heart is what does this mean for your father? Are there other arteries supplying those areas? What will happen if they are not opened? These are questions for your father's doctor.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 24, 2012

• hello sir my dad is patient in 3 cases 1.heart 2.leg 3.kidney so there in 3 is in blood circulation problem first thing 100% block in heart & leg blood circulation is 100% block & kidney there is little bit open & other side is full block for blood circulation. so there is doctor said no useful after operation he decided after watching PET SCAN so he said we can open kidney artery(blocks). we treated in NARAYANA HRUDALAY in Bangalore multi specialist hospital,so what can i do sir because Dr. said nothing can do this patient in anywhere so any other chance is there sir please inform your branches please
Re, agrecul, Karnataka, India, February 23, 2012

• Struggling in Wisconsin -- We can't give medical advice as such. Yours is a complicated situation and, if you need a second opinion, you might want to consult an interventional cardiologist or radiologist as well. Any estimate of the risk would be very specific to your mother and her clinical condition. You might want to look at our topic on "Angioplasty in the Elderly".
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 5, 2012

• My mother is 88.5 years old and has been diagnosed with 100 percent blockage in both of her legs. Both feet are swollen and she is in a lot of pain. 14 years ago she had her mitral valve replace with a metal one, so she is on Coumadin. She also has atrial fibrillation. The vascular surgeon gave us 3 options: (1) do nothing and continue with pain meds (2) perform angioplasty on both legs (3) amputate both legs Our family is seriously thinking about angioplasty but are wondering what the success rate is for her age and health history and what the risks might be for her.
Struggling in WI, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, February 5, 2012

• Concerned in Alabama -- Angioplasty was invented in the 60s by Dr. Charles Dotter, a radiologist, who felt it could help prevent amputations and other problems in the legs. He had good success and obviously equipment has advanced tremendously since, but only a doctor/specialist in peripheral artery disease can answer your specific questions once they have seen the angiograms. There are three specialties that perform interventions on peripheral arteries: vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists and interventional cardiologists. We would suggest getting a second opinion from a specialist other than the one you've talked to. If both agree, then you can at least be confident this is the correct way to go.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 30, 2012

• My mother has had a right below the knee amputation secondary to diabetes in the past. She was recently told that all of the arteries below the knee of the left leg are now occluded, however the arteries can't be stented or ballooned. Furthermore, she was told that she does not have any veins to graft. Therefore she is facing eminent amputation of the lower left leg. Is this common? Or should we seek a second opinion?
Concerned, Alabama, USA, January 27, 2012

• Brighton in North Carolina -- It's not "normal" for the artery to reblock, but it does happen. It is impossible to say why, long-distance, but it's called restenosis. Plavix keeps the blood from clotting in the stent, but it doesn't really prevent restenosis, which is a diifferent process entirely (it's tissue growth). There are now drug-eluting stents avaiilable for the leg arteries; they have less restenosis. What kind did you get?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 26, 2012

• I have had a stent, bypass surgery and 3 more stents in my leg. Now it is blocked again. The doc says it keeps blocking above the stent. Is this normal? I am on Plavix. Any thoughts?
Brighton, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, January 26, 2012

• Sandysioux in New Mexico -- We assume you mean arteries, not veins. Stents are not of much use way down below the knee because the vessels are so small, which is why angioplasty balloons are usually used there. There have been some experimental drug-eluting balloons that have shown promise in the legs. What specialists have you seen? Interventional cardiologists, interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons all work in this area (yes, it's confusing) and it may be worth a consult or second opinion with someone in a different specialty.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 18, 2012

• I went for peripheral angioplasty of my left leg following a surgery two months before for MRSA ulceration of my left big toe. The doctor told me after the procedure that two veins were shriveled and the third vein could only take the catheter/camera to the ankle, so no stents. Now I have two swollen legs that are hard to the touch and it looks like the original wound id re-infecting. Any other fixes for dead veins?
sandysioux, Roswell, New Mexico, USA, January 16, 2012

• Dear No Rest for the Poor in Florida -- one of the positive things about angioplasty/stent procedures is that recovery time is minimal. Even Prince Philip of England was back in public less than a week after his coronary stent, and he is 90 years old! As for your particular situation, your cardiologist (or vascular surgeon -- whoever is performing the angioplasty on your leg) is the best person to advise you on when it is safe to return to work, assuming that work involves physical activity.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 2, 2012

• Having stent procedure done and really need to return to work asap. If procedure is complicated free, can I return to work after a week? Job requires bending, lifting and on my feet a great deal.
No rest for the poor, Jacksonville, Florida, USA, December 28, 2011

• In 2007 I had 2 iliac stents one blocked immediately and urgent femoral crossover bypass was done. This is now almost totally blocked and my next op will be aorta/femoral bypass which I am very high risk for due to other health problems. I am told the success rate is not that good for this op. Does anyone know of someone surviving that has had this. My surgeon says it would be a graft from above naval to just above knees in both legs. Any input please.
Diane, Birmingham, UK, December 19, 2011

• My dad is 65 years and he has high blood pressure. Two years ago he had surgery in his head because he had an 7.1m aneurysm in his head, that same day he had a stroke and 3 heart attacks. His doctor says he has blood clots in 99% of his right leg so the doctor wants to do Angioplasty surgery. My dad looks fine and walks fine and his legs look perfectly fine. What are the risk? What do you recommend? My mom wants to fly out to the Dominican Republic before the holidays and while they are there she wants to take him to the doctors for a second opinion but I'm not sure if that's a good idea. (I also want to add that two months ago he had 5 stents placed in his hearts.) Thanx in advance!
A Worried Son, Home, Newark, New Jersey, USA, November 17, 2011

• I had an iliac stent put into my leg and had severe back pain with uncontrollable chills went to ER and they found that my kidney had either blood abscess or had been lacerated they are not sure what it is could it be possible that the Dr lacerated my kidney when she put the stent in. I cant see how they are not connected
Sarah bad legs, Troy, New York, USA, November 15, 2011

• I underwent ABI testing today for possible PVD W/Claudication. The only thing the tech would say was that everything looked pretty good except, at the final readings the right pressure was at 25 and the left at 10. Does this indicate a possible blockage on the left side, the side which is giving me trouble? I have calf pain after walking an incline after about 4 minutes, and difficulty sleeping because my leg feels "full". Thanks for any help!
wepitch, North Carolina, USA, November 7, 2011

• Yvonneb3 in San Francisco -- This topic is about angioplasty to open up blockages in the leg. What you are describing is a complication after coronary angiography where the femoral artery in the groin/leg was used as the catheter-access site. See our Forum Topic on the subject, "Complications from Femoral (Leg) Catheterization, Angiogram or Angioplasty."
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 7, 2011

• I just had an angiogram done in the right side of my groin area after having a mild heart attack on Sept. 6th, it is now Nov. 3rd and I am still having pain in my right thigh up to my groin. It feels like my thigh muscle is being pulled up through my groin. I have to stop what I am doing and it hurts a lot. Is this normal? My primary told me to give it another couple of months.....
yvonneb3, San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA, November 3, 2011

• Eddie in Kentucky -- That's terrible that a knee replacement is causing you to lose use of your foot. Certainly a complication. Whether or not it can be "fixed" is impossible to say long distance. We'd suggest consulting a vascular surgeon or interventional cardiologist/radiologist to see if they think a stent or surgical bypass might work.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 2, 2011

• I had a knee replacement 8 months ago,my stay at the hospital I was suppose to get out of bed learn how to walk with walker,But when I woke up I told him I couldn't feel my feet or move my toes or foot at all,He told me the feeling would would come back it was the block. So I was completely knock out for 3 days, but to make a long story short,I 6 months later I after many phone calls I found a Dr. they ran a lot of test on me. (When I came out of the surgery my foot had drop foot so bad one would think I had it for a year the calf of my leg was drawn up like tight as a drum the back half look like it had been burn,foot same way all over I did not let any one touch it for about a month then it started peeling thick hard skin,the only pain killer they had me on was perc. or lortab both 10mg which I had bee on that since 2006 also gabapintin i was worked up to 1800mg a day didn't help)Found Dr. On test she found when they put replacement in it pushed on one of my main artery cut off blood flow to my foot,now my foot is dead, I am 57 have grandkids who are are in grade school I had just Begun with them. I what to know can my artery can be fixed? please help me please????????
Eddie, Lexington, Kentucky, USA, October 30, 2011

• Pat in Tucson -- without taking a look, it's hard to tell. Work with your cardiologist (we assume you meant "cardiologist" and not "oncologist") -- do the ultrasound and whatever other tests he/she recommends to see if there's been any complication.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, October 23, 2011

• Had angioplasty and two stents in right thigh...four weeks ago...resulting in extensive bruising in groin and a huge hematoma...bruising is gone and hematoma has become drastically I am experiencing swelling in right foot in ankle bone area...down the top of my foot...a little pain at ankle area and instep when I walk...calf is slightly cardiologist is recommending an ultra sound to see what is going on... Same oncologist performed angioplasty and two stents in left leg a year ago without any complications except bruising and hematoma at incision site---still get cramping in left calf when walking...Does it sound like a blood clot in newly operated right leg?
Pat in Tucson, Tucson, Arizona, USA, October 19, 2011

• Sang in Pennsylvania -- Atherosclerosis is a systemic disease. A blockage in the leg arteries is in fact a different manifestation of the same disease that caused blockages in the heart. Have your father's legs been imaged (angiogram, etc.) to rule out PAD? His gastric distress is a known side-effect of almost all antiplatelets (blood-thinners) -- has this gone away with the prasugrel? As for travel, this is a question for his doctor.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, October 19, 2011

• My father had a bypass surgery in 99. In 2010, again he was diagnosed with clots in his heart and some swelling in his legs- He had a successful angioplasty. Now in 2011, he had some severe gastritis and his doctor changed medicines from Clavix (Plavix in the US) to Prax (I think its generic name is prasugrel) and Stiloz (cilostazol). He also complains of pain when walking and burning in his legs. That has been diagnosed as neuropathy. How is that different from PAD? Can that be controlled by medication? What is the probability of another angioplasty? With all these, how long will he live? Is there anything more we can do to help his leg pain? Can he fly from India to US?
Sang, Exton, Pennsylvania, USA, October 18, 2011

• Donna in Arkansas -- The pain may have to do with the femoral access site (left leg). Check out our topics on "Complications After Femoral Catheterization" -- You'll note that there are many patients with similar complaints: it has to do with the access site, whether the procedure is being done to unblock arteries in the leg, or the heart. If the pain doesn't subside, she should consult the doctor who did the procedure..
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, October 8, 2011

• My mom had an angioplasty on both legs 3 days ago, due to calf pain when walking in her right leg. Dr. went in at groin of her left leg to do both legs. Stented a total blockage in the trunk of her right leg, said left leg was ok. Insertion point is healing well, but she now has calf pain when walking in her left leg and she says that leg feels weak. Has had a total knee replacement in the left leg, but was having no problems with that leg at all before the procedure. She only had to lay still for one hour after the procedure, whereas it has been for hours on a heart cath she had done. Is the calf pain on the insertion leg normal and how long should it take to heal?
Donna, Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA, October 1, 2011

• Dear One Sad Son in England -- Very sorry for your loss. It sounds like she had what is called a retroperitoneal bleed, where there femoral needle stick perforates the back side of the artery and blood escapes into the retroperitoneal cavity in the abdomen. Unfortunately, this bleeding can go undetected.This is an infrequent but serious complication of femoral catheter-based procedures, turning a relatively low-risk procedure into a tragedy, as in your mother's case.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, September 13, 2011

• my mother has just had what the hospital described as a everyday routine operation, angioplasty to the legs. after the op she complained of abdomen and back pain,after having a scan they found out she had a bleed due to the artery been damaged and was immediately returned to theatre to have the artery repaired. after this she failed drastically within a few hours and eventually died yesterday 7/9/2011 (james cook hospital) r.i.p mam xxx
one sad son, Hartlepool, Cleveland, England, September 9, 2011

• Juls -- It may be that you are having back pain from having to lie flat and still on the cath lab table and then in recovery for many hours -- not an unknown complaint.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, September 5, 2011

• I also had stents (5) put in my iliac vein yesterday, and my back is killing me. Will this subside???
juls, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, September 2, 2011

• Del in the UK -- an issue with the iliac is probably not related to any complication from a previous catheter access site procedure. That would be in the femoral artery. Also the fact that your docs had a problem with catheter access via the right femoral would indicate you may have had peripheral disease in the right peripheral system at that time. It would be interesting to see if they had any angiograms of your coronary procedure that showed the iliac -- and whether the blockage was already at 50% or has progressed.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, August 24, 2011

• I have just found out that I have 50> stenosis in my right Iliac artery.No other stenosis was found anywhere in either leg. I had 2 coronary stents fitted in 2005/6 and for those I actually had 4 catheter insertions (2 angiograms + 2 angioplasty) At the last one in fact entry could not be gained in the right leg for some reason not explained at the time so entry was made in the left leg. Due to the siting of the new Iliac stenosis my question is: Is it possible that damage could have been done at the entry site of any of the angios, that could give rise to this 4 years later? Any thoughts appreciated.
del, United Kingdom, August 24, 2011

• Alisia -- we pretty sure the nurses were right. This is not related to any internal problems from the angioplasty or stent procedure itself. But lying still and tense on a table for a length of time (6 hours!) can cause all kinds of back problems, even in people who have not experienced any issues. Physical therapy, stretching, possibly massage or even chiropractic might help. We'd suggest talking to your GP about a referral to an orthopedist.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 20, 2011

• I just had two stents and a balloon in left leg due to DVT from the knee to up into the stomach. and poor blood flow. Surgery went well I thought until the very end, I had severe back pain for a few minutes, then subsided, I thought. I'm home and leg feels good but my back pain is awful. I cannot lay down at all to sleep and sitting is painful. However I can stand just fine and walking is ok if I go slow as to not use back too much. Any suggestions or ideas? Nurses are convinced it was from laying in the bed and operating table for 6 hrs all together. However, I had no pain in back going in and it is not getting any better now. Please help if you can.
Alisia, Centralia, Missouri, USA, May 17, 2011

• Stewart in Canada -- of course. It's called peripheral angioplasty and is performed by either an interventional radiologist, interventional cardiologist or vascular surgeon who is trained in catheter-based procedures.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 14, 2011

• can you get an angioplasty in your legs in canada?
Stewart, Retired, Fergus, Ontario, Canada, May 11, 2011

• Just had them put in May 3rd.....Will see Doctor sometime this week.
Bobby, Springfield, Illinois, USA, May 8, 2011

• Bobby in Springfield -- how long since the stents were placed (and do you know which type of stent)? And have you discussed this with the interventional doctor who did the stents (cardiologist, radiologist or vascular surgeon?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 7, 2011

• I just had stents implanted in the right and left femoral arteries. Afterwards I still have the same problems as before . Tremendous pain in both legs , I can't do anything that's' physically demanding, so now what do I do ???
Bobby, Springfield, Illinois, USA, May 6, 2011

• Tom in San Juan -- Regarding Angioprim, check out our "Editor's Blog" about Angioprim, written back in 2005. As we mention, the FDA sent them a warning letter which, to our knowledge, has never been answered but it seems as if the FDA has never taken any enforcement action either. Curious...did you see their Google Ad on Angioplasty.Org? Because we've tried to keep that particular ad off our site.

By the way -- and this to all readers -- if you're looking for information, try "searching" Angioplasty.Org first. Use the "search" button on the top right-hand or on the left-hand navigation menus. Our site has over 1,700 pages.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 27, 2011

• Have read the ad for Angioprim to treat PAD. The mfr claims that it cleans out the calcium in the arteries and is fast acting so angioplasty can be avoided. Tom
Angioprim effectiveness on PAD, San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 27, 2011

• Cindy in Ohio -- if this continues, call the doctor who did the atherectomy. It's possible that a blockage has developed. And May in the UK, if it's possible to get some pain medication, obviously that would help. It's hard to say, but it sounds like the issue has progressed. Unlike a blockage in the heart, it's not a life-threatening situation, but if the pain continues, or his foot gets cold or discolored, as in Cindy's post below, call your doctor and let him/her know.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 22, 2011

I wrote in january asking if you can have another procedure done and i was answered well hubby goes in on tuesday 26th april to have a stent, they are going to try a stent, the thing is he is getting terrible leg cramps in his left thigh right now is it right to have this i'm so worried as he has to wait till tuesday and i'm scared something will happen before he gets in to get his stent thank you
May, Cornwall, United Kingdom, April 22, 2011

• My Mother, 76, has pad. She had Femoral artery atherectomy with balloon angioplasty in right leg 6 days ago. Post procedure she had very high (Over 5000) myoglobin levels in urine. Urine has now cleared. Kidney function has been impaired for years(Creat = 1.6) Swelling started in ankle/foot area 2 days ago and now foot is turning black and blue. Is swelling and bruising normal in foot area? Should she walk to stimulate circulation in foot or elevate and stay off it?
Cindy, Medina, Ohio, USA, April 18, 2011

• Southern Girl in Alabama -- you should ask this question of the interventional radiologists or cardiologists (or vascular surgeons) that did your procedure. Plavix is prescribed for several reasons: for stents, it's 6 months for bare metal and a year for drug-eluting types in the coronaries. These are minimums. Whether you should be taking it for other reasons is really your doctor's call.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 15, 2011

• I had angioplasty in my left leg twice. Once they found a clot in the main vein close to my stomach. The next time, they just cleaned out the plaque in my leg no stents needed. They put me on plavix for 5 months. I am now not taking anything except an aspirin Should I still be taking plavix?
Southern Girl, Ozark, Alabama, USA, April 15, 2011

• Re Plavix et al: I was prescribed Plavix in December after the successful PTA of my left SFA, but had an allergic reaction within a week: angioedema in my hands and hives on my arms and torso. The doctor discontinued it without prescribing a substitute (other than my regular regimen of 81mg Aspirin). After the first PTA on my right SFA on Feb 4th, he prescribed full strength (325 mg) Aspirin only. As we found out, the stent blocked virtually immediately - I don't know but I suspect that could have something to do with the stent being put in only to support a dissection in the internal layers of the artery when they stretched it. After the second PTA on the right thigh on Feb 11th, I'm now on Effient (a preloading dose of 60 mg just before discharge on the day of the proc, and 10 mg daily since). Right now, my right foot is warm enough, so blood flow doesn't seem compromised. For the pain in my thigh, I got Percocet, but stopped that for the nausea it caused and went back to 8-hour Tylenols. I have a followup appointment coming up on Wednesday.
arayq2, New York City, New York, USA, February 14, 2011

Angioplasty.Org Staff, thank you for your response. On the day of the proc, in the recovery area, the doctor simply REFUSED to believe that the pain was severe.He kept on explaining that some pain was "normal". As a result, I was discharged WITHOUT a script for painkillers. On Saturday I called the hospital and got through to a surgeon on duty whom I didn't know. After discussing some symptoms (yes, I can wiggle my toes; no, no obvious swelling, etc.) he concluded that this was not a true emergency, but (thankfully!) he was willing to give me a script for painkillers. I'm now taking Percocet, but it wears off before the four hour gap is up, and even with it, walking is very painful. I'm of the opinion that further "discussion" with this department will be of limited utility, as my case is beyond their competence and their prime interest now is clearly that I or my insurance company don't sue them. As for trauma to the femoral nerve, I specifically asked about that the very first time (when I had my left leg done, successfully) and was told, with a smile, that it was extremely unlikely and that "a little knowledge was a dangerous thing". Thank you.
arayq2, New York City, New York, USA, February 13, 2011

• Arayq2 in New York -- it is possible that a nerve (the femoral nerve) may have gotten traumatized during the stent insertion. But this is hard to say without an examination. With pain such as you describe, you should definitely be in touch with the physicians who placed your stents and let them know just how bad the pain is. We know you've already done that, but if it's lasting this long, they might take a second look. Severe pain, such as you describe, is not "normal" to our knowledge. Perhaps the pain will subside. We assume you have been given pain medication, in addition to antiplatelet drugs (Plavix, etc.). Please keep the Forum updated. Oddly enough, peripheral disease is actually more complicated to treat in some ways than the heart.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 12, 2011

• Follow up to my previous post, more details about the PTA on my right leg SFA. The puncture sites in my left groin where they went in on two consecutive Fridays are basically fine. Very little bruising, two small knots of pain, the area generally pain free. There is severe pain in my right inner thigh, where the stents went in. I have trouble putting weight on my leg when I stand up, but eventually I can sort of hobble around, keeping my right leg as rigid as possible. There is pain all around my knee, and on the upper tibia below the kneecap. The lower leg feels leaden (as in claudication), and maybe slightly swollen, but that could be numbness instead. My question is: how abnormal or unusual is severe pain in the area of the stents in the thigh? I'm pretty sure the PTA has failed a second time, but I really would like to know why my thigh hurts like the blazes. I am having trouble googling an answer too. Thank you.
arayq2, New York City, New York, USA, February 12, 2011

• My problem is claudication. Two stents in my left thigh have worked very well, I'd say the leg is now 95%+. However, post-proc I had pain in my left inner thigh along the general line of the femoral artery (i.e. where the stents were). The surgeon blew it off and it took several weeks to fade. A similar PTA proc on my right leg (SFA) has been a disaster. On Feb 4, they put in one stent. I had the same post-proc pain along the line of the femoral artery, but noticeably worse. An ultrasound exam this week on Thursday showed the stent blocked, so they called me in on Friday Feb 11th for another PTA. They say that they pulverized the blood clot (using the angiojet technique) and put in two more stents. Now the pain in my right thigh is seeing-stars kind of bad, and some claudication sensation persists in my lower leg. Even in the recovery ward on Friday, the surgeon blew the pain off as "normal" and therefore just simply could not be severe, so he said. What is wrong with my leg, and how should I describe it in a second opinion I'm determined to seek (as insurance and liability setups being what they are, no doctor would do the ethical thing and own up to a snafu)? Thank you
arayq2, New York City, New York, USA, February 12, 2011

• After years of pain in my legs and feet and two cancelled knee operations, doctors found only 50% of blood going through my leg which has caused the very bad knee pain. I am now due to go in for a angioplasty of my right leg. I also am at stage 4 CKD with kidneys working at 30% and falling 2% every 4 months. Really worried as to what the future, if any holds for me.
Jimeccano, Somerset, United Kingdom, February 11, 2011

• Nick B -- you should ask your interventional doc, the one who placed the stent and endoprosthesis, about the pain -- and also the Plavix. For more about Plavix, check out the topic on Plavix and Stents. Plavix is an antiplatelet and reduces the risk of clots in the stents; it doesn't really affect whether the stent will reocclude. If you haven't already read it, here's a link to the Patient Brochure for the Gore Viabahn device (PDF). Note that it states that you should definitely contact your doctor if you are experiencing and pain or other adverse events.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 29, 2011

• I had back to back femoral artery stenting procedures 4/10 and 5/10 after first Zilver stent occluded. Second stent is a Gore/Viabahn endoprosthesis and it's been doing well. I'm concerned about persistent pain behind the knee that comes and goes. I'm also reluctant to go off Plavix because of the blockage that recurred so quickly after the first stent. What could be causing the pain behind the knee and should I go ahead and stop the Plavix? Doctor said I could get off Plavix after 6 months.
Nick B., Virginia, USA, January 29, 2011

• May in the UK -- Yes, angioplasties and stent placements can be repeated successfully, either in the same area or in another. And technology changes all the time. For example, a recent study of the ZILVER stent has shown very good results in the peripheral (leg) arteries -- that stent wasn't available four years ago.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 26, 2011

• my husband had an angioplasty done 4 years ago a few months ago he began having pain again in one of his legs and hip and back he had an appointment at the hospital today and the specialist says there is something there again and he has to go for an angiogram again i'm just worried sick they cant do the same thing again for him the doctor said he would discuss it with his colleagues to see what they can do once they have the results i just wondered if someone could tell me if they can do the procedure twice?
May, United Kingdom, January 26, 2011

• I had a double angioplasty with stents and found the pain quite intense as I had not been given any sedation or pain killers, is this normal as I would not wish to undergo this again.
Gill, Windsor, Berks, United Kingdom, January 12, 2011

• Cindy -- did your doctor say "a piece of what" broke off? Have you reported your symptoms to the doctor that did the procedure? If not you should -- he may want to check to see that everything is ok. Cold, stinging, pain -- the idea behind getting an angioplasty in the leg is to relieve rest and walking pain -- you shouldn't still be feeling these things -- or, if you are, your doctor should explain clearly to you what the reasons are.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 4, 2011

• I recently had a angiogram, Is it normal to keep the cath in your leg until the next morning. The Doctor wanted to take another look the next day. No stent, been home a week and still in pain. Went walking had to stop because of pain, feet are very cold,and stings. What do you suggest? I had to stay in the hospital overnight, The doctor said he opened some arteries and when they were doing so, some piece broke off. He said that it will dissolve in time, will that cause the pain that I am having now?
Cindy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, January 4, 2011

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