Peripheral arterial occlusion

Peripheral Arterial Occlusion

Peripheral arterial occlusion (PAO) is a condition in which blood vessels narrow or become blocked, preventing blood from properly circulating throughout the body. It is most commonly caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty deposits inside the arteries. Other causes of PAO include embolism, which is a collection of blood clots, and thrombosis, which is an accumulation of plaque inside an artery. PAO can lead to serious medical complications such as stroke, heart attack, or peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Occlusion

The primary symptom of PAO is leg pain caused by interruption in the supply of oxygenated blood to the leg. This pain is often felt in the calves of the leg, but can occur in the thighs, feet, or buttocks as well. Other symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and/or coldness in the leg or feet. PAO can also lead to non-healing wounds or ulcers on the feet, as well as severe discoloration of the skin in the affected areas.

Risk Factors of Peripheral Arterial Occlusion

Risk factors of developing PAO include age, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a family history of cardiovascular disease. People who lack exercise or regular physical activity are also at an increased risk for PAO. Because PAO commonly develops due to atherosclerosis, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing the disorder.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Peripheral Arterial Occlusion

Diagnosis of PAO is typically done through physical examination and imaging scans such as vascular ultrasound or CT angiography. Treatment for PAO may include lifestyle changes and medications to help control the underlying condition, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to open blocked arteries or remove blockages. Minimally invasive procedures such as angioplasty can also be used to open blocked arteries.

Complications of Peripheral Arterial Occlusion

If left untreated, PAO can lead to serious medical complications. These include stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), heart attack, and peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD can cause major mobility issues and progresses from intermittent claudication (IC) to rest pain, ulceration, and eventually gangrene of the affected extremity.


PAO is a serious condition which can lead to major medical complications if left untreated. It is important to speak with a doctor if you experience any leg pain or other associated symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to helping reduce the risk of permanent damage or other medical conditions.