Peripheral Vascular Disease Treatment – One Patient’s Story of Recovery

Life’s Common Problems

Serious health issues can be scary any day of the week. When they cause pain and affect an individual’s ability to move and enjoy life, fear levels only increase. Circulatory issues can be particularly disturbing because without blood’s life-sustaining oxygen and other nutrients, tissues suffer, and the mind quickly conjures worst-case scenarios. This is exactly what one of our patients was experiencing.

Symptoms Prompt a Referral

Mrs. Ann Vandersypen was experiencing pain and cramping in both of her legs when she walked. She noticed the discomfort seemed to be increasing over time, resulting in extended, crippling spasms and pain even when she was at rest. When she shared her concerns with her family physician, he suspected blocked circulation and immediately referred her to our facility in Alexandria, La.

Progressive Symptoms

During her first visit, Dr. Rice was able to confirm Mrs. Vanersypen’s family physician’s diagnosis of PVD, or peripheral vascular disease, a common yet serious condition for individuals 50 and older. PVD is also known as PAD – peripheral arterial disease. It is termed peripheral to distinguish outlying, or peripheral, arteries from those dedicated to supplying blood to the brain and heart. PVD usually causes circulatory problems in one or both legs or feet, but it can also affect arms and hands, too. Like Mrs. Vandersypen, who was in her 60s, most patients experience:

  • Fatigue, numbness or pain in one or both feet or legs while walking, exercising or even enjoying sedate activity.
  • Claudication, intermittent or prolonged cramping or spasms in the feet, lower leg or even the buttocks.
  • Discoloration of the affected foot or leg, with colors ranging from grey to deep reddish blue.
  • Wounds that refuse to heal on one or both feet or legs.

Associated Conditions

In diagnosing Mrs. Vandersypen, Dr. Rice quickly established that she had arterial blockages in both of her legs. This is not uncommon. While PVD is sometimes the result of injury or anatomical anomalies, hardening of the arteries – atherosclerosis – is the usual culprit, especially for patients already battling:

  • Heart disease.
  • High blood pressure or cholesterol.
  • Coronary disease.
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Smoking addiction.


Over the years, as bodies break down foods, fats eventually begin forming a plaque inside blood vessel walls, gradually narrowing and stiffening them. Plaque builds. Pieces can break off, become lodged and block circulation. Tissues deprived of oxygen and nutrients initially spasm in protest but will deteriorate until circulation is restored. This is MIIGS’s specialty.

Consultation, Confirmed Diagnosis and a Plan for Action

Our physicians can positively identify the locations of blockages and open blood vessels at the exact site to restore blood flow. This is exactly what MIIGS specialist Dr. Rice did for Mrs. Vandersypen. During her first consultation, she learned that:

  • Arterial blockages were affecting both of her legs. Dr. Rice showed her exactly where they were and explained what he needed to do to open the blood flow.
  • She would not need general anesthesia.
  • She had pre-surgical instructions to ensure her procedure was successful:
    • Continue taking all her prescribed medications unless otherwise specified.
    • Refrain from eating or drinking 8 hours before her procedure.
    • Arrange for a family member or friend to drive her home following the procedure.
  • She could count on very little downtime and a quick recovery.
  • She could immediately schedule her PVD treatment for 5 days later.
  • Interventional Radiology

MIIGS stands for Minimally Invasive Image Guided Specialists, with the keywords being minimally invasive. MIIGS specializes in interventional radiology, advanced techniques that use state-of-the-art imaging technologies and allow vein specialists to treat a variety of illnesses quickly and effectively. We are able to help the vast majority of even the most critical patients, and we were a perfect fit for Mrs. Vandersypen. Please visit our blog again soon to read Part 2 of Mrs. Vandersypen’s story, focused on her recovery and return to her normal day-to-day activities. 

If you, or someone you know, has experienced similar symptoms to those of Mrs. Vandersypen, or if you are experiencing other discomforts, please contact Minimally Invasive Guided Specialists (MIIGS) in Alexandria, Louisiana. Call MIIGS at 318.445.9700 or submit an online form today to schedule a consultation, or for more information.