Treatment Programs

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Peripheral Artery Disease Program

The Peripheral Artery Disease Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center provides specialized diagnosis and treatment options as well as ongoing care for patients with peripheral artery disease of the extremities.

Our Approach

Clinicians at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center are leaders in the development and use of medical, surgical and endovascular interventions to diagnose, treat and prevent complications of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a circulatory condition in which arteries narrowed by atherosclerosis reduce blood flow to the limbs, particularly to the legs and arms.

 

According to the Peripheral Arterial Disease Coalition, an estimated eight to 12 million Americans are at risk for PAD, and this statistic is increasing as the population of baby boomers ages.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Vascular Care

The Mass General Fireman Vascular Center is one of the only vascular centers in the country with specialists in every area of vascular disease. Our Peripheral Artery 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
  • Endocrinology
  • Podiatric medicine
  • Nutrition and physical therapy
  • Wound care

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

Specialists Dedicated to Noninvasive Vascular Imaging

Our team includes experts in diagnostic imaging who are specially trained to detect abnormalities in the vascular system and whose practice focuses specifically on vascular disease. These vascular imaging specialists are board certified in vascular medicine, vascular surgery, general radiology and are fellowship trained with additional specialization in vascular procedures.

To accurately diagnose peripheral artery disease, our specialists rely on noninvasive tests that use cuffs similar to those used to measure blood pressure. These tests can be performed during a regular office visit and include:

  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI)
  • Pulse volume recording (PVR) - this noninvasive technique was developed and introduced by clinicians at Mass General

Other diagnostic techniques include:

  • Doppler ultrasound
  • CT angiography (CTA)
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)

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

Treatment Plans to Help Patients Live Mobile, Active Lives

Depending on its severity, PAD can result in leg discomfort while walking or standing and other complications. Our goal is to design individualized treatment plans that allow patients to retain their active lifestyle and also prevent complications. To treat PAD, our clinicians might use a number of therapies, including:

  • Medical therapy. Medications used to treat PAD include novel agents, antiplatelet medications and drugs to manage cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes
  • Exercise therapy. This approach helps patients increase the distance he or she can walk without pain and typically involves walking on a treadmill and performing other exercises that work the lower body
  • Angioplasty and stenting. In this technique, a balloon-tipped catheter is threaded through the affected artery to expand it, and a stent may be inserted to keep the artery open. Angioplasty and stenting is less invasive than open surgery and often results in quicker recovery times
  • Atherectomy. In this minimally invasive procedure, a laser catheter is used to remove plaque from arteries
  • Endarterectomy. During an endarterectomy, plaque is surgically removed from the blocked artery
  • Surgical bypass. This intervention uses a vein in the leg to re-route blood flow around the diseased artery

Preventive care is central to the treatment process. Our vascular specialists guide patients through smoking cessation and other lifestyle changes, and may refer them to cardiologists at the Heart Center to treat associated cardiac conditions. Our clinicians also follow patients throughout their lives to ensure ongoing support and further treatment, if needed.

About This Program At the Mass General Peripheral Artery Disease Program, our clinicians use the most innovative and effective medical, surgical and endovascular techniques to treat and prevent complications of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a circulatory condition in which arteries narrowed by atherosclerosis reduce blood flow to the limbs, particularly to the legs, arms and lower extremities.

Leaders Committed to Increasing Awareness of PAD

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 PAD. According to the Peripheral Arterial Disease Coalition, an estimated eight to 12 million Americans are at risk for PAD, and this statistic is increasing as the population of baby boomers ages.

In addition, 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
  • Society of Interventional Radiology
  • American College of Cardiology
  • Society for Vascular Medicine
  • Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Intervention
  • American Board of Vascular Medicine
  • Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories

Our clinicians also are committed to educating patients about PAD and its risks. Mass General was the first hospital in the United States to partner with the Peripheral Arterial Disease Coalition, a national campaign funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and designed to increase public awareness of PAD.

Evaluating New Technologies through Research and Clinical Trials

The Fireman Vascular Center participates in major clinical studies evaluating new technologies and devices to treat PAD. This allows us to bring our patients promising new treatments as quickly as possible. This innovative work is focused on:

  • New devices. Since 1997 the Vascular Center’s vascular ultrasound core laboratory has been a leader in the design, development and implementation of clinical trials on new endovascular devices. Our clinicians are currently investigating devices such as drug-coated stents and drug-coated balloons for the minimally invasive treatment of PAD
  • Cell-based therapies. Several of our physicians are on the committee for a new trial that explores stem cell-based treatment for patients with PAD who cannot undergo medical or surgical approaches

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

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.

Tracking Outcomes to Improve Care

The Fireman Vascular Center has taken the unprecedented step of independently following the outcomes of patients who are evaluated for PAD. While treating patients, we carefully document how they respond. These tracking systems ensure that we deliver quality care during a procedure and throughout a patient’s recovery.

Patients and families members can feel confident that our team is always striving to provide the best possible outcome.

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.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a slow and progressive circulation disorder. It may involve disease in any of the blood vessels outside of the heart and diseases of the lymph vessels - the arteries, veins, or lymphatic vessels.

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.

Man gets walking to improve blood flow and overall health

Eugene Tarsky, 73, had never heard of peripheral artery disease (PAD) when he was first diagnosed three years ago. But careful monitoring by doctors and a commitment to reducing his risk factors have kept him healthy and free from complications.

Active again: persevering with PAD

PAD affects more than 9 million people in the United States, but the disease is often underrecognized by both patients and physicians.

CNN segment on Peripheral Arterial Disease featuring Dr. Michael Jaff

Dr. Michael Jaff, Medical Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center, is featured in a CNN segment on Peripheral Arterial Disease.

Talk with your doctor about peripheral artery disease

Deborah Hines, NP, encourages talking with your doctor about peripheral artery disease, a circulatory condition in which arteries narrowed by atherosclerosis reduce blood flow to the limbs, particularly to the legs and arms.

Recognize the symptoms of peripheral artery disease

Michael Jaff, DO, encourages the public to recognize the symptoms of peripheral artery disease, a circulatory condition in which arteries narrowed by atherosclerosis reduce blood flow to the limbs, particularly to the legs and arms.

Access to new treatments

Fireman 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.

Michael Jaff, DO, discusses diabetes and its potential complications, such as peripheral artery disease

Michael Jaff, DO, Medical Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center, says that if you have diabetes, your odds are 1 in 3 of developing peripheral artery disease, with potentially serious consequences. Learn more about why peripheral artery disease often goes undetected, and how it can be diagnosed and treated.

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 Fireman Vascular Center

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

Learn about the Fireman Vascular Center in Waltham

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