Winter 2009

Perspective: Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

The prevalence of peripheral artery disease (PAD) is rising as the population ages and the incidence of associated risk factors skyrockets. This puts more patients at increased risk for death, myocardial infarction, stroke and limb loss as well as for a significantly impaired quality of life.

Yet, despite efforts to increase awareness of this common condition, PAD remains under diagnosed and is often inadequately treated. Consider that lower extremity amputations in the United States continue to increase, particularly among the growing diabetic population.

The primary treatment goals for advanced PAD should be long-term preservation of a functional limb, pain alleviation, maintenance of quality of life and minimization of comorbid (largely cardiovascular) complications. Beyond aggressive medical management, treatment options include catheter-based and open surgical approaches to improve limb circulation.

Many centers offer a broad range of procedures, but the evidence base lags behind the technology and outcome standards are poorly defined. We believe that experienced clinical judgment — selecting the right intervention for the right patient at the right time — yields the best outcomes. Multidisciplinary collaboration improves decision making, ensures thorough evaluation and management of global atherosclerosis, and optimizes short- and long-term outcomes.

The UCSF Heart and Vascular Center employs that approach through our dedicated team of talented vascular specialists and nationally recognized leadership in PAD treatment. In addition, our translational research advances the development of novel therapies for patients with limited conventional options.

We hope you'll continue to partner with us to improve PAD diagnosis and treatment.

Michael S. Conte, M.D.
Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
UCSF Heart and Vascular Center

About Michael S. Conte

Before arriving at UCSF in 2008, Michael S. Conte, M.D., served as associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and director of vascular surgery research at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston. He has an active clinical practice in vascular surgery, which includes complex limb revascularization, aneurysm repair, aortic and carotid artery surgery, and hemodialysis access. His translational research focuses on control of the vascular injury response to improve the long-term results of cardiovascular grafts and interventional procedures.

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