Lower limb vascular disease: PAD vs. DVT

  • Peripheral artery disease:
    • Smoking related, much likely caused by.
    • Sclerotic arteries won’t allow a good blood flow and can’t regulate pressure and perfusion. Tissue becomes hypoxic.
    • Pulses are weak and slow, and sometimes they are impossible to find using our fingers.
    • Leg hurts, specially when walking, claudication occurs.
    • Leg also looks pale and it’s cold, as metabolism is reduced.
    • Tissue infarction will ultimately occur. Ulcers appear and unless patient stops smoking, there will be no cure in the long run.
    • A chronic disease can become acute, with a sudden important artery occluding completely, with intense symptoms and will require urgent solution to avoid limb loss.
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  • Deep venous thrombosis:
    • Hyper-coagulability state and immobilty related. Think about it in a patient with a recent surgery, specially after long bone injury, a diagnosed active cancer, and/or a prior DVT of course.
    • Also think about women and hormones: Pregnancy, postpartum, high oestrogen from HRT or using OAC.
    • Arteries seem ok, so blood flows and tissue will be perfused. Pulses are strong.
    • Problem is a clot develops in the venous system making the return of blood difficult.
    • Leg gets congested with blood and fluids, it appears large.
    • Also, it becomes warm and dark as it gets more and more swollen. Of course it hurts.
    • If the superficial venous system is affected only (phlebitis), anti-inflammatory measures may suffice until collateral branches develop.
    • If the deep venous system is clotted, a urgent solution may be needed. At least we must stop more clot developing using anticoagulants.
    • The more proximal the thrombus is in the deep system, the higher the risk of embolism, specially pulmonary, which is the worst life threatening complication.


  • Make sure you have the differences very, very clear.

Thank you for stopping by the Plague Doctor’s blog. If you like these illustrations and the blog please leave a comment and tell me what you think. You opinion is of most importance. Tell your friends about it and visit us at facebook, twitter, instagram or tumblr. Download the illustrations for free and print it. A3 should be fine for you to put it up your wall and review anytime you like. Thank you!

-The Plague Doctor


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