Vascular Surgery Q&A

What is vascular surgery?

Vascular surgery is any type of surgical intervention that is performed on the blood vessels of the body. It thus concerns treatment and management of diseases and conditions of the veins and arteries performed by a board certified cardiovascular or vascular surgeon, commonly performed by Dr. Ghalili.

What does vascular surgery involve?

Vascular surgery is some type of intervention done on the blood vessels of the body. Often an angioplasty procedure can be done, for instance, subclavian stenting is when a stent is placed into a subclavian artery to open up the artery more. Peripheral arterial disease and high cholesterol can increase the risk of narrowing or stenosis of the subclavian artery. Stenting is an example of an endovascular procedure that is commonly performed by Dr. Ghalili. Renal artery interventions are done such as stent placement, to open up the narrowed renal arteries which supply blood to the kidneys.

What is vascular surgery of the legs?

Endovascular stenting and bypass of arteries or balloon angioplasty can be done on the blood vessels in the legs. Stents may work well to open up narrowed arteries, but in other cases, bypass grafts may become necessary. This is when a piece of blood vessel is grafted into position to bypass a blocked section of vessel. Angioplasty is when a catheter is threaded into the vessel and the vessel is opened, often by expanding a balloon.

Is vascular surgery painful?

Vascular surgery is not very painful particularly if angioplasty is done. You will receive good management for any pain or discomfort that you experience.

Why would you need vascular surgery?

Vascular surgery is most often needed when a blood vessel is blocked or narrowed in such a way that the flow of blood is compromised. In the case of blood vessels, a blockage can mean that blood supply is cut off to the tissues leading to a lack of oxygen ischemia. If blood vessels in the legs are blocked, gangrene can set in which can lead to sepsis and death. Blocked coronary vessels can cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction) in which heart muscle is starved of oxygen and dies. Blocked carotid arteries can cause a stroke because blood supply to the brain is cut off.

Is a pacemaker a ventricular assist device?

A pacemaker is not classified as a specific ventricular assist device instead it is a device that is implanted into the chest and used to treat arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) such as atrial fibrillation and heart block. The pacemaker is implanted under the skin and a wire is threaded through to the heart. Leads connect to the pulse generator part of the pacemaker and to the chamber or chambers of the heart where it is needed. A pacemaker is designed to correct problems with the electrical impulses of the heart and is able to be used as a backup generator. 

What is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator ?

This is a type of cardiac device that is implanted into the body and acts as a defibrillator to restore rhythm to the heartbeat. It does this by performing cardioversion on the heart in which electrical currents are used to restore the correct rhythm to the heart. It is important to remember that the heartbeat and rhythm is because of a synchronous contraction of the heart muscles. These muscles receive electrical impulses which signal contraction, and if this system fails, especially in the case of the ventricles, sudden death can result. 

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