Atherosclerosis is sneaky. It’s a process that starts early in life, progressing silently. By the time symptoms occur, atherosclerosis is advanced and represents a serious problem.


There are three serious diseases caused by atherosclerosis. Each has its own warning signs:
(1) Coronary artery disease,
(2) Cerebrovascular disease,
(3) Peripheral arterial disease.


In Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) the legs usually show symptoms of poor circulation first. Pain in the calf muscles when walking (claudication) is the most common symptom. Poor wound healing or decreased pulses in the feet are other signs.


Diseases caused by atherosclerosis are the most common cause of death in the U.S. Since atherosclerosis is so widespread and so dangerous, you might ask: Why don’t we test everyone with the best tests we have?


The one test that can directly show blocked arteries is called angiography. Angiography is an “invasive” test:


• A thin tube is inserted inside an artery in the leg or arm.

• It is then threaded through the body’s maze of branching arteries.

• Injected dye shows arteries — and any blockages — on a monitor.

What is Angioplasty and Vascular Stenting?

A minimally invasive image guided procedure to help improve blood flow in arteries throughout the body.

When is Angioplasty or Vascular Stenting needed?

Angioplasty and vascular stenting are often used to help treat conditions in which the arteries of the body are blocked or narrowed. The blockage is often caused by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque narrows the artery. If the narrowing is severe, symptoms such as cramping in the legs can occur. The plaque can continue to build leading to a narrowed or even blocked artery. Angioplasty and vascular stenting are common in the treatment of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), stroke and carotid artery disease.

How is the procedure performed?

Patients are given mild sedation through an IV inserted in the arm during the procedure. An interventional radiologist inserts a small, thin balloon tipped catheter into an artery and places it at the blocked vessel. The balloon is inflated under x-ray guidance to open the artery and improve blood flow. The balloon is then deflated. Vascular stenting occurs when balloon angioplasty is ineffective. After the artery is opened by the balloon, a small wire tube is inserted to maintain the opening. Once the angioplasty and or stent placement is complete, the catheter is removed. Patients are then moved to recovery; typically are able to walk within a few hours after the procedure and resume normal activity within one week. Often, patients will have follow up imaging of the artery which may include an ultrasound, CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam.

How can I schedule an exam?

Our interventional radiologists offer the full spectrum of care including pre-procedure consultation, post-procedure care and when necessary, hospital admission. All patients can schedule an office visit to consult with a radiologist to discuss vascular options prior to performing any procedure. To schedule an appointment, please call our Briarville location, 615.986.6411.

What should I do after the examination?

When your examination is over, you may resume your normal daily activities unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. One of our board-certified radiologists will review the images and send a report to your physician. You can discuss the results of your examination with your physician.  About your nuclear imaging test