Who might have an angioplasty and stenting procedure?
For many women, lifestyle changes, medications, and exercise therapy are enough to get PAD symptoms under control. However, women with PAD symptoms that have not responded to other treatments may need a procedure to open the blocked artery. You may benefit from angioplasty and stenting if you have PAD in the legs and:
- Your PAD symptoms are limiting your ability to work or perform daily tasks
- Medication and exercise therapy have failed to control your symptoms
- A narrowing or blockage in your leg arteries is limiting blood flow to your legs
- The location and size of the narrowing or blockage are suitable for treatment, with low risk and a high chance of success
Who should not have the procedure?
If your PAD is not yet causing symptoms, you should not have an angioplasty or stent procedure to prevent future problems.1 For these women, the risks of the procedure outweigh the benefits.
Not all blockages, even if they are large, need to be treated. Some arteries can be blocked by 50% or more without significantly reducing overall blood flow to the legs, and a procedure to treat this kind of blockage is probably not worth the risk.1
Even if you have severe PAD caused by blockages that can be treated, you may decide not to have the procedure if you have other conditions, such as chest pain ( angina) or lung disease, that would prevent you from exercising even if your PAD symptoms improved.
What are the benefits of angioplasty and stenting in women with PAD?
In women with PAD that has not responded to other treatments, angioplasty and stenting can be very effective at opening blocked arteries, with 1-year success rates of around 80%.2-4 Women who undergo these procedures to treat leg pain symptoms benefit from increased blood flow to the legs (measured by ankle-brachial index),5 better walking ability, and less severe leg pain symptoms.2,6 However, the arteries may close up again in the future.