Vascular Conditions and Treatments
UnityPoint Health – Peoria helps you receive vascular treatments close to home. You are in the capable hands of a team of highly skilled vascular surgeons and nurses.
We can accurately diagnose your condition, often with convenient vascular imaging and tests done in our medical offices. We also perform many procedures in our clinics and offer a variety of nonoperative treatment options.
What Is Vascular Disease?
Vascular diseases affect the body's circulatory system. These diseases can involve blood vessels in any part of your body, from large vessels in your chest and abdomen to tiny capillaries in your hands and feet.
Although vascular disease has many causes, some of the more common types occur when arteries become blocked with plaque, a buildup of cholesterol and fatty material. These blockages can reduce or slow blood flow. They can cause serious damage and illness, including stroke, peripheral artery disease, or heart attack.
Other causes of vascular disease include:
- Blockage such as a clot in a blood vessel
- Inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis)
- Trauma or injury that damages blood vessels
Vascular Treatments We Provide
At UnityPoint Health – Peoria, you will get a carefully considered treatment plan. We typically try nonsurgical treatments first, if appropriate. You'll talk with your providers about how your symptoms improve with a simpler approach.
Here is how we treat some more common vascular conditions:
An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel. An untreated aneurysm can rupture, or burst. Ruptured aneurysms are dangerous and can cause internal bleeding or stroke. Types of aneurysms we treat include:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm: Occurs in the lower part of the aorta (main artery that carries blood from the heart), near the abdomen
- Peripheral aneurysm: Typically affects the legs or neck
- Thoracic aortic aneurysm: Occurs in the upper aorta, near the chest
We often prefer to closely monitor small aneurysms instead of treating them. You can minimize your risk with lifestyle changes, such as lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol with medications and quitting smoking.
Larger aneurysms typically need treatment, as do smaller aneurysms if you have a family history of the condition. Treatments may include:
- Stents: We insert tiny tubes to stabilize the artery wall and keep it from rupturing.
- Surgery: We can remove the aneurysm and repair the area with a new blood vessel.
We visit select primary care offices in the region to perform screenings for abdominal aortic aneurysms. Find out more about treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Carotid artery disease and stroke prevention
Carotid artery disease happens when plaque builds up inside the major arteries in the neck. This plaque causes a narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to stroke. Carotid artery disease is one of the most common and treatable causes of stroke.
Treatment options depend on how narrow the artery has become. Treatment may include:
- Medications: We may recommend medications. Options may include blood thinners or drugs that lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Carotid angioplasty and stenting: We use a catheter to thread a tiny balloon to the affected area of the artery. We inflate the balloon to widen the artery. Then we place a wire stent to keep the artery from closing up again.
- Carotid endarterectomy: During this surgical procedure, we make an incision in the neck and open the artery. Your surgeon removes the plaque from the artery and closes the artery again.
Our surgeons strive to offer the latest and best treatments. Our program is the first in Central Illinois to perform transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR). This new minimally invasive procedure reduces the risk of stroke during stent procedures.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
Peripheral artery disease (PAD), also known as peripheral vascular disease, narrows the peripheral arteries. It typically affects the arteries in the legs and can cause:
- Painful cramps in the legs or hips during physical activity
- Changes in skin color
- Sores and ulcers
- Gangrene or limb loss, in severe cases
Treatments for PAD depend on symptoms and may include medications to improve blood flow to the leg. If medicine isn't enough, your doctor may recommend stents or bypass surgery. Find out more about how we treat peripheral artery disease.
Venous disease, varicose veins and leg pain
We treat conditions that affect the veins, including varicose veins, spider veins and venous insufficiency. Varicose veins are the most common venous disease. For some, varicose veins are only a cosmetic issue. For others, symptoms may include pain, aching and heaviness in the legs. The discomfort can make it hard to do normal daily activities.
Our treatment approach for varicose veins depends on your symptoms. For most people, we begin by recommending 6 weeks of compression stockings. If the stockings do not help, we may recommend one of these minimally invasive procedures performed in your provider's office:
- Varithena™: We inject medical foam into the affected veins to treat varicose veins and stasis ulcers (sores due to reduced blood flow). The foam closes up the veins and decreases pain. Blood flows through healthy veins, avoiding the damaged vessels.
- Sclerotherapy: We inject a saline solution to treat affected veins. The solution causes the treated veins to swell and turn into scar tissue. Blood reroutes to healthier veins.
- Endovenous ablation: We insert a thin tube, or catheter, into the varicose vein. Using that catheter, we heat the vein. The vein will close and turn to scar tissue. Blood flow reroutes through healthy veins.
Risk Factors for Vascular Disease
We can diagnose vascular disease with imaging and tests. Risk factors for vascular disease include:
- Diabetes or heart disease
- High blood pressure or high cholesterol
- High-fat diet
- Lack of physical activity
Find a vascular specialist. Or, for more information, connect with a member of our vascular team by calling us: 309-643-6118.