Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) Peripheral Vascular Program is a service of both interventional cardiologists in Lehigh Valley Heart Institute and vascular surgeons in Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence. Our interventional cardiologists and vascular surgeons have expertise in treating many conditions that affect the peripheral vascular system. They offer both traditional (open) and minimally invasive approaches to peripheral vascular condition care.
LVHN’s Peripheral Vascular Program provides the care you may need for conditions affecting your peripheral vascular system. The peripheral vascular system includes all vessels (arteries and veins) outside of the heart and brain. Conditions and diseases of the peripheral vascular system range from carotid artery disease in the neck (including carotid artery stenosis and carotid artery dissection) to peripheral artery disease in the legs, arm artery disease in the upper extremities, arterial disease in the abdomen, and aortic aneurysms (abdominal and thoracic), among many others.
This team also treats venous conditions, such as varicose veins and spider veins, oftentimes using minimally invasive technologies that will help you love your legs again. Learn more about our Vein Program.
If you have been diagnosed with a condition of the peripheral vascular system, the experienced team at LVHN has the training and resources to help you.
Your vascular experts: Vascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists
At LVHN, vascular conditions may be treated by either a vascular surgeon or an interventional cardiologist. Our vascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists are experts in the type of care you need. They use angioplasty techniques and stents to open blocked arteries; they repair abdominal and thoracic aneurysms;
Which specialist you see depends on the extent of the surgical treatment that is needed. For peripheral vascular conditions, you will most likely be referred for care by another health professional, such as your primary care provider, your cardiologist, or another specialist (including an ophthalmologist).
Types of care provided by specialty:
- Interventional cardiologists provide endovascular (catheter-based) approaches to vascular care of peripheral arterial disease of the legs.
- Vascular surgeons perform both endovascular treatments as well as open vascular surgery for disease of the peripheral arteries. They also carotid and aneurysm diseases, among many others.
There is collaboration between both specialties, so if you begin your care with an interventional cardiologist but need an open vascular procedure, you will be referred to a vascular surgeon with Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence.
Vascular surgery approaches: Endovascular and open
The type of surgical approach you will have depends on many factors, including your overall health and the type of problem. Sometimes a combination approach – both endovascular and open surgery – is best. We will consider all aspects of your health and condition when we develop the treatment plan.
- Endovascular surgery – Endovascular procedures are catheter-based, meaning that a small nick in the skin is made to access a artery and a catheter is inserted to provide a pathway for surgical tools to the area that needs to be treated. Most endovascular procedures can be done in a same-day procedure / surgery setting with minimal down time. Some do require short hospital stay.
Among our endovascular treatments is carotid stenting. Lehigh Valley Hospital is the only health network in the area to participate in the international Carotid Revascularization and Medical Management for Asymptomatic Carotid Stenosis Trial (CREST-2) trial to compare carotid stenting and medical management of carotid stenosis.
- Open vascular surgery – Open surgery means that an incision is needed to access the area being treated. It also generally involves a hospital stay and a bit of recovery time. Some open surgeries can be done in an outpatient setting and some require just one overnight stay in the hospital. Some require a few days in the hospital followed by physical therapy. You and your physician will discuss what you can expect for your care.
Following surgical treatment for your vascular condition, we will determine frequency of return appointments. For some patients, follow up will occur with the referring physician (your primary care provider or other specialist). For others, you will need ongoing care from your Peripheral Vascular Program provider.