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Vascular Institute

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The Best Care for Vascular Disease
The St. Elizabeth Vascular Institute is here to help improve vascular care in our community by bringing together a multidisciplinary team of vascular specialists. Our highly trained team of vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists and vascular medicine physicians are dedicated to working together to evaluate and determine the best treatment options available for our patients. Providing a comprehensive approach to vascular care, our Institute goes beyond just offering interventions and procedures, and looks to care for you by meeting all of your vascular needs.
If you have been diagnosed with any of the following conditions, you could be one of the many who have benefited from the services we offer at the St. Elizabeth Vascular Institute. 

  • Claudication or leg pain when walking
  • Asymptomatic or known Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  • Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
  • Suspected or known Renovascular Disease
  • Suspected or known Intestinal Ischemic Disease
  • Suspected or known Carotid or Cerebrovascular Disease
  • Suspected or known Venous Disease or Varicose Veins

Common Vascular Conditions

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
The aorta is the largest artery in the body and travels from the heart, down through the chest, and into the abdomen. In the abdomen, the aorta delivers oxygen-rich blood to the legs and other organs. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when the wall of the aorta progressively weakens and begins to bulge. If an AAA is left untreated, it may continue to enlarge and possibly rupture leading to severe internal bleeding and possibly death.

Most people do not feel any symptoms, but rather the AAA is discovered from testing performed for other unrelated reasons. People who do experience symptoms describe them as:

  • A pulsing feeling in their abdomen
  • Unexplained, severe pain in their abdomen or lower back
  • Pain, discoloration, or sores on their feet (rare)

Causes and Risk Factors
The structural weakening of the aorta can be contributed to:

  • Age: 60+
  • Gender: males more prone than females
  • History of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Family history of AAA
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic lung disease

Diagnosis and Treatment:
If you experience symptoms of AAA, or if unrelated tests indicate that an AAA is present, it is important to see a vascular specialist for further evaluation and discussion. The vascular specialist may order further testing such as an abdominal ultrasound (painless testing using sound waves to visualize the aorta), and/or other radiographic studies to fully evaluate your condition. Based on these studies and after a thorough evaluation the vascular specialist caring for you will discuss your findings, answer any questions you may have, and develop a treatment plan that best fits your individual needs.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is more common than most people realize. In fact, many of those with PAD do not have the typical symptoms of the disease. For some 10 million Americans, PAD is a serious risk factor leading to stroke, aortic aneurysms and lower extremity ischemia (restriction of blood flow to the legs). PAD occurs when atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, causes a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to tissues in the body. As these plaques worsen, they can reduce essential blood flow causing pain, possible tissue damage, and even tissue death. In the lower extremities this narrowing can create pain or aching in the legs with walking (claudication), rest pain in the feet or legs at night, non-healing sores in the toes or feet, and can even lead to limb loss in its most severe form.

Causes/Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Gender: males are more prone than females
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Family history of vascular problems

Symptoms of Lower Extremity Arterial Disease

  • Claudication, which is pain in the muscles of the legs during walking, stairs or exercise.
  • Numbness or tingling in the legs or feet
  • Pain at night in your legs or feet
  • Ulcers or sores on the legs or feet.

Diagnosis and Treatment
It is important to see a vascular specialist if symptoms develop. Diagnosing PAD is done by the vascular specialist completing a thorough exam and ordering appropriate tests. Many of these tests are painless and can be obtained on the same day of your visit. Based on the results of these studies and the vascular specialist’s evaluation; treatment options, if needed, are discussed based on the severity of the condition.

Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease occurs when the carotid arteries, the main vessels that carry blood to the brain, develop a buildup of plaque caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. As the disease progresses the plaque can become unstable or small clots can form on the plaque’s irregular surface. These small clots or unstable areas of plaque can break off and go to the brain, potentially causing a TIA or Stroke. Carotid artery disease can be a very serious condition and should be evaluated to determine your risk for stroke if left untreated.

Causes/Risk Factors:

  • Family history of atherosclerosis ( buildup of plaque in the arteries)
  • Age
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol or lipid levels

Symptoms of carotid artery disease are not usually noticed in the early stages. Warning signs of a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) are sometimes the first signs of severe carotid artery disease. Warning signs of a stroke or TIA include:

  • Weakness, numbness, tingling or loss of movement in an arm or leg
  • Facial drooping or weakness
  • Difficulty speaking or inability to understand what is spoken to you
  • Loss of vision or difficulty seeing
  • Loss of consciousness or “passing out”

If you experience any of these symptoms seek treatment immediately for further evaluation and possible treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment
It is important to see a vascular specialist if symptoms develop. Diagnosing Carotid Artery Disease is done by the vascular specialist doing a thorough exam and ordering appropriate tests. These test may include a carotid ultrasound (painless test using sound waves to look at the arteries), or other radiographic studies. Based on the results of these studies and the vascular specialist’s evaluation; treatment options, if needed, are discussed based on the severity of the condition.

Varicose Veins
Varicose veins develop due to problems with the tiny valves that help blood pump back towards the heart. When these valves don’t work like they should, blood pools in the vein causing the vein to bulge and stick out. With the increased pressure in the veins, the person can develop swelling, pain, heaviness, itching and even ulcers related to the poorly functioning valves. If you suffer from varicose veins, a vascular specialist can help to determine if you may be a candidate for one of the many treatment measures currently available.

Risk factors

  • Age: 50+
  • Current or past smoker
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Personal or family history of varicose veins or other vascular disease
  • More than 25 lbs. overweight.


  • Aching or fatigue of the legs usually progressive throughout the day, worse with standing or sitting for long periods of time.
  • Leg and foot swelling that returns to normal after sleeping
  • Veins that bulge or are very pronounced in your leg
  • Swelling, dryness, irritation or discoloration of the skin between the knee and ankle
  • Itching or eczema of the skin between the knee and ankle
  • Non-healing open sores or ulcers in the lower leg

Diagnosis and Treatment:
A diagnosis of varicose veins is made by thorough review of patient history and review of vascular studies that evaluate for venous disease. Ultrasound, a painless technique using sound waves, is the gold standard for evaluating how well the valves in the veins work. Based on this study and a thorough exam the vascular specialist can help to determine the best treatment options, if indicated, to help you with your condition.

Cardiovascular Mobile Health Unit

St. Elizabeth has a powerful mobile tool in the fight against cardiovascular disease with the Cardiovascular Mobile Health Unit. Sponsored by BB&T, made possible by the generous support of John C. Holmes, M.D., along with contributions from St. Elizabeth 2008-10 Vision employee donors, the unit brings technology & expertise for diagnosing cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes to where you live work and play.

To schedule an appointment please call (859) 301-WELL (9355).

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment please call Central Scheduling at (859) 655-7400.

To request more information or for general questions about our program, please give us a call at one of our two convenient locations in Edgewood (859) 301-4723 or Florence (859) 212-4888.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare Cardiovascular Mobile Health Unit St. Elizabeth Healthcare Cardiovascular Mobile Health Unit


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