Vascular Disorders & Aortic Aneurysms - -

Vascular Disorders

Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, Vascular DisordersVascular disorders affect the body’s intricate system of blood vessels, and can range from life-threatening emergencies to chronic, disabling diseases.

For patients suffering with certain vascular problems, finding the right specialist is literally a matter of life and limb. The experts at the Crozer-Keystone Health System can diagnose the problem, help you choose the right treatment option and help you achieve the best possible results.

Common Vascular Disorders

Crozer-Keystone's vascular and endovascular specialists treat the following vascular disorders:

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is an enlargement or ballooning of the aorta, the main artery of the chest and abdomen caused by progressive weakening of the artery wall. An AAA can grow slowly within your abdomen, often without any symptoms.

Some aneurysms will stay small and may never rupture, however others can grow very quickly. A ruptured aortic aneurysm can lead to life-threatening internal bleeding.

Approximately 3/4 of all AAA are asymptomatic, but some aneurysms will cause sudden onset of severe pain in the back and/or abdomen or a pulsing sensation, similar to a heartbeat, in the abdomen.

Carotid Artery Disease

The carotid arteries are the main blood vessels to the brain. If these arteries develop a build-up of plaque and are hardened by atherosclerosis, blood flow to the brain is impaired. A severe plaque build-up may result in a stroke.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the leg veins do not allow blood to travel back to the heart. It has been estimated that 2.5 million people suffer from venous insufficiency. Chronic venous insufficiency does not pose a serious health threat, but the condition can be disabling and cause pain.

Chronic Wounds

Patients may also be at risk of limb loss due to leg and foot wounds resulting from vascular disease. An estimated 7 million Americans suffer from chronic wounds associated with conditions such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and autoimmune disease.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) affects circulation in the legs and feet, often resulting in pain and disability. The most common cause of PVD is atherosclerosis, a condition that narrows the blood vessels and is associated with smoking, diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure. PVD can lead to pain and disability if not properly managed. In its most severe form, untreated PVD can cause critical limb ischemia, a condition resulting from severe obstruction of the arteries which reduces blood flow to the hands, feet or legs. Crozer-Keystone’s vascular surgeons diagnose this condition by reviewing patient history, performing a physical examination and conducting non-invasive testing.

Thrombosis (Blood Clots)

Blood clots, also known by the medical term thrombosis, are semisolid masses of coagulated blood. Your blood needs to be able to clot to prevent serious bleeding when you get a little cut. However, sometimes clots can form for no reason inside your blood vessels, creating a blockage that can lead to dangerous health issues.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are twisted and enlarged veins, commonly in your legs and feet. While any vein may become varicose, legs and feet are at a higher risk because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.


Diabetes is another medical condition that causes chronic wounds which can lead to limb loss and other vascular complications. According to the American Diabetes Association, many people with diabetes have PVD, which reduces blood flow to the feet. Nerve disease is also common among people with diabetes and reduces the sensation in limbs. These conditions can increase the chances of foot or leg amputation.

Diagnosing Vascular Disorders

In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, your doctor may use the following tests:

  • Computed Tomography (CT): A CT scan produces multiple images of the arteries and heart muscle and determines if there is any damage or calcium build up.
  • Ultrasound: This test is used to view internal organs as they function (in "real time," like a live TV broadcast), and to assess blood flow through various vessels.

Treating Vascular Disorders

Crozer-Keystone's vascular and endovascular specialists are skilled at diagnosing the problem and helping you choose the right treatment options that achieve the best possible results.

  • Angioplasty: In this procedure a small balloon is inflated in the heart. This presses the plaque against the wall of the artery to improve blood flow.
  • Stenting: Following angioplasty, a stent can be inserted to maintain the passageway.
  • Carotid Endarterectomy: For this procedure, your doctor will surgically remove plaque that builds up inside the carotid artery.
  • Surgical Bypass: A surgical bypass routes blood flow around a blockage caused by peripheral arterial disease.
  • Thrombolysis: Also known as thrombolytic therapy, this is a treatment to improve blood flow and dissolve blood clots.

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about vascular disorders or request an appointment, please call 1-866-95-PULSE (1-866-957-8573) or request an appointment online.

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