Treatment Programs

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Visceral Vascular Disease Program

The Visceral Vascular Disease Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center offers advanced diagnostic techniques and innovative treatments for patients with mesenteric vascular disease and renal vascular disease.

Our Approach Our clinicians are leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of visceral vascular disease, the narrowing or blockage of arteries that supply blood to the intestines (mesenteric vascular disease) or the kidneys (renal vascular disease). We offer patients comprehensive care that includes a full range of medical, surgical and minimally invasive treatment options.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Vascular Care

The Massachusetts General Fireman Vascular Center is one of the only vascular centers in the country with specialists in every area of vascular disease. Our Visceral Vascular Disease Program brings together a team of clinicians from multiple disciplines to provide care from many perspectives, including:

  • Vascular medicine and cardiology
  • Vascular and endovascular surgery
  • Vascular imaging and intervention
  • Interventional radiology
  • Nephrology and hypertension

We work together with the patient and referring physician to coordinate personalized treatment plans for all patients.

Specialists Dedicated to Vascular Imaging

To accurately diagnose renal and mesenteric vascular disease, our team includes full-time specialists who are specifically trained to detect abnormalities in the vascular system and whose practice focuses specifically on vascular disease. These vascular imaging specialists are board certified in medicine, surgery, or radiology and fellowship trained with additional specialization in vascular care, including procedures to restore blood flow to these narrowed arteries.

Depending on the patient, we may use one or more techniques to diagnose visceral vascular disease, including:

  • Duplex ultrasonography (ultrasound)
  • Computed tomography angiography (CTA)
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)

All of our diagnostic tests are also available at our convenient Waltham location.

Decades of Experience Managing Visceral Vascular Disease

Our approach to treating visceral vascular disease involves developing a personalized treatment plan for each patient that focuses on easing symptoms, managing hypertension (a possible complication of renal vascular disease) and restoring organ function.

Additionally, we collaborate with the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center and the divisions of Nephrology, Cardiology and Endocrinology to offer a Resistant Hypertension Program which specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis and management of patients with resistant or difficult to treat hypertension. Treatment is determined according to a patient’s symptoms, coexisting conditions and the severity of visceral vascular disease.

Medical and Preventive Treatments

Part of a world-class academic medical center, Fireman Vascular Center clinicians are leaders in their field. Our decades of experience researching and managing renal and mesenteric vascular disease allow us to recognize when to use medical, rather than interventional, therapies. Our clinicians often recommend medications and lifestyle changes to manage high cholesterol and high blood pressure – two conditions that may contribute to visceral vascular disease. For example, we have expert nephrologists who work closely with patients to control high blood pressure caused by the effects of renal vascular disease on the kidneys.

Our vascular specialists also guide patients through smoking cessation and other lifestyle changes and may refer them to cardiologists at the Heart Center for related cardiac conditions. These dedicated physicians follow patients throughout their lives to ensure ongoing support and further treatment, if needed.

Advanced Interventional Techniques

Clinicians in the Visceral Vascular Disease Program are national leaders in using endovascular and surgical therapies to treat patients with visceral vascular disease. Such interventional treatments include:

  • Angioplasty and stenting. In this technique, a balloon-tipped catheter is threaded through the affected artery to expand it. A stent, which is a tiny metal-mesh tube, may be inserted to keep the artery open. Angioplasty and stenting is less invasive than open surgery and results in faster recovery times
  • Trans-aortic endarterectomy. In this procedure, plaque is surgically removed from blocked mesenteric arteries
  • Surgical bypass. This intervention re-routes blood flow around the diseased artery

About This ProgramAt the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center Visceral Vascular Disease Program, our clinicians use innovative approaches to diagnose and treat visceral vascular disease, the narrowing or blockage of arteries that supply blood to the intestines (mesenteric vascular disease) or the kidneys (renal vascular disease).

National Leaders in Our Field

The Fireman Vascular Center has a long tradition of excellence in clinical care; and our clinicians are national leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of visceral vascular disease. All of our physicians are at the forefront of new research and serve on many national and international professional boards and societies, including:

  • The Society for Vascular Surgery
  • The Society of Interventional Radiology
  • The American College of Cardiology
  • The American Heart Association
  • The Society for Vascular Medicine
  • The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Intervention

Physicians within the Visceral Vascular Disease Program are also committed to education: many of the physicians share their perspective with other medical professionals through national conferences such as the Mass General Vascular Summit, an annual symposium with representatives from vascular programs around the world, developed and sponsored by the Mass General Vascular Center.

One Call Coordinates Care

Our dedicated nurse coordinator is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm to take relevant information about your condition and symptoms and to make a timely appointment with the most appropriate specialist.

We strive to see patients as soon as possible and assign every patient one clinician to organize care between members of our multidisciplinary team. From diagnosis to treatment and follow up, this physician guides patients through the treatment process.

Taking Part in Research and Clinical Trials

Physicians from the Visceral Vascular Disease Program participate in national clinical studies evaluating new technologies and devices to treat mesenteric and renal vascular disease. This allows us to bring our patients promising new treatments as quickly as possible. Some of these studies include:

  • ASPIRE-2. This landmark trial evaluated the use of stents in patients with renal vascular disease and was a determining factor in the FDA approval of renal stents
  • CORAL. A National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute sponsored landmark study comparing the role of blood pressure medications to renal artery stent placement in combination with blood pressure medications in patients with high blood pressure and renal artery disease. Several members of the Vascular Center are on the National Steering Committee of this trial
  • New devices. Physicians at the Vascular Center are currently investigating devices such as drug-eluting stents, drug-coated balloons and distal protection devices (filters) for the minimally invasive treatment of visceral vascular disease

Patients interested in participating in clinical trials can browse online for open trials.

Conditions and DiseasesThe care team at the Fireman Vascular Center encourages all patients and family members to learn more about conditions and diseases that affect the cardiovascular system. The links below provide more information about vascular conditions and diseases that might be treated within this program.

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.

Renal Vascular Disease

Renal vascular disease is the name given to a variety of complications that affect the arteries and veins of the kidneys.

Support and Wellness

Mass General is dedicated to ensuring that people understand their health care choices and have the necessary information to make decisions affecting their health and well being. The related support and wellness information listed below can play a role in treatment options.

Designing an Exercise Program

When you exercise, you'll breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Healthy Eating

Many vascular conditions can be improved by changing certain lifestyle factors. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of many factors. If you are trying to make heart-healthy changes to your diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition, starting with the components of food.

Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

Diseases caused by smoking kill more than 437,900 people in the United States each year. Around 35 percent of these deaths were cardiovascular related.

Determining Your Body Mass Index

A good indicator of how much fat you carry is the Body Mass Index (BMI). Although it is not a perfect measure, it gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your body is composed of fat.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Back on track

When Richard Horgan, age 72, was vacationing with the family at Disney World, he began to speak haltingly - with a slight stutter. Before the week was over, Richard would be diagnosed with stroke, serious kidney problems, and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Patient selection criteria and interventional treatment parameters for renal artery stenosis

The medical community has made great strides treating coronary and carotid artery diseases and reducing mortality associated with myocardial infarctions and strokes. While as many as 3 million Americans have renal artery stenosis (RAS)—a condition that narrows or blocks the vessels that supply blood to the kidneys—RAS is often overlooked and underdiagnosed.

Access to new treatments

Vascular Center physicians and scientists participate in international research and lead more than 70 clinical trials that evaluate current therapies and investigate new devices to treat vascular disease. These research efforts have led to a number of groundbreaking firsts, bringing innovative new treatments to the patient’s bedside.

Designing an Exercise Program

When you exercise, you'll breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Healthy Eating

Many vascular conditions can be improved by changing certain lifestyle factors. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of many factors. If you are trying to make heart-healthy changes to your diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition, starting with the components of food.

Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

Diseases caused by smoking kill more than 437,900 people in the United States each year. Around 35 percent of these deaths were cardiovascular related.

Determining Your Body Mass Index

A good indicator of how much fat you carry is the Body Mass Index (BMI). Although it is not a perfect measure, it gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your body is composed of fat.

Vascular Center

55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 877-644-8346
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm


Vascular Center at Waltham52 Second Avenue, Suite 2100
Waltham, MA 02451
Phone: 
877-644-8346
Hours:
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Learn about our convenient Waltham location

Next Steps:

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Request an appointment at the Vascular Center

Contact the Vascular Center to schedule an appointment with one of our vascular specialists

Learn about the Vascular Center in Waltham

Did you know the Vascular Center has a convenient location in Waltham? Learn about treatments and services at our outpatient care center.