Claudication - Treatment

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What forms of treatment, including medication or surgery, did you or a relative receive for claudication?

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What is the treatment for claudication?

There are two main ways to treat claudication: medication and a surgical treatment, called revascularization.

Medication therapies are often used initially as they are non-invasive. The two most commonly used medications include:

  • Cilostazol (Pletal) reduces the pain of intermittent claudication by widening (dilating) the arteries, thereby improving the flow of blood and oxygen to the legs.
  • Pentoxifylline (Trental) decreases the "stickiness" (viscosity) of blood and thereby improves its flow through arteries. This increases the flow of blood and oxygen to muscles.

There are several drugs being investigated to treat claudication. These medications are not yet approved for use in treating this condition. These medications include:

  • ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors
  • Antichlamydophila therapy - roxithromycin
  • Propionyl-L-carnitine
  • Defibrotide
  • Prostaglandins

A surgical procedure called a revascularization is used in patients who do not respond to medications. There are two types of revascularization procedures: endovascular (inside the blood vessel) and surgically grafting or bypassing the artery.

  • Endovascular procedures include:
    • Angioplasty: A balloon is placed in the blocked area and inflated to widen the diameter of the artery and increase blood flow
    • Stenting: Wire mesh used to hold a blood vessel open after angioplasty and prevents scar tissue from narrowing the blood vessel
  • Surgical grafting or bypassing an artery involves an open surgery with an incision and sewing in a graft using either the patient's vein or a synthetic tube to increase blood flow around the blocked area.
  • Compression therapy can also be used as a noninvasive way to treat symptoms of claudication. Intermittent calf compression has been shown in studies to improve symptoms-free walking distance.
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See what others are saying

Comment from: redhead02865, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I was wondering if PAD claudication could be a gene that is passed on from family member to family member. My grandmother, my mother, two of my kids in their 30s, and I have this problem. I'm the only smoker. I ended up having three stents put in my leg and then I developed blot clots. I would not go through this again because my legs still hurt.

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Comment from: PAD,PVD, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 30

I've had angioplasty and stent placement over 4 years ago. I'm able to walk longer. However, I still get leg cramps, claudication. I guess I'd have the surgery over again because I'm now able to walk 1/2 hour to 45 minutes daily. This is great. I'm happy with my progress. Especially because my back is fused and I must have some exercise. Walking is #1 for PVD/PAD (Peripheral vascular disease/ Peripheral artery disease), so start walking.

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