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Vascular Program at UConn

Welcome to the Vascular Program at UConnís Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center. At UConn Health, our experienced team of vascular specialists includes vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists and nurses. We diagnose and treat patients with peripheral artery disease. And we offer you an important difference, as the only university hospital in central Connecticut; our patients receive the advantages of the latest research and innovations in health care.

Common Conditions Caused by Vascular Disease

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Aneurysms occur most often in the aorta, the main artery of the chest and abdomen. Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are caused by a progressive weakening of the aortic wall that causes dilation or "ballooning" of the vessel. The aneurysm will grow larger and eventually rupture if it is not diagnosed and treated.

Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease occurs when the major arteries in your neck become narrowed or blocked. This narrowing or blockage may lead to stroke or "brain attack."

Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease or peripheral vascular disease is a common circulatory problem affecting more then 10 million people in the U.S. ó generally those ages 50 or older. In PAD the arteries supplying blood to your limbs become hardened or narrowed due to a gradual buildup of cholesterol and scar tissue. Left untreated, PAD increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, amputation and death.

Venous Disease

  • Varicose Veins
    Varicose veins are swollen veins that you can see through your skin. They often look blue, bulging and twisted. Left untreated, varicose veins may worsen over time. Large varicose veins can cause aching and fatigue as well as skin changes like rashes, redness, and sores.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
    This is a blood clot of the deep veins. This condition can be dangerous if the clot breaks free and travels through your blood stream and lodges in your lung, heart or less commonly, your brain.
  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency
    Arteries bring blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Veins bring blood back to your heart. Your veins have valves in them to help return the blood to your heart. When these valves become weak, the blood pools in your legs causing swelling, and sometimes pain. Advanced weakening may lead to skin color changes and ulcerations.

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Family history
  • Age (over 50)

How Is Vascular Disease Detected?

The vascular specialist will ask you questions and perform a physical exam. In addition, non invasive tests such as CT scan, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), as well as invasive tests such as angiography, may be performed.

Treatment Options

Many people with vascular disease can be treated with lifestyle changes and/or medicines to prevent the progression of this disease. Additionally, minimally invasive endovascular intervention or interventional radiology procedures can provide alternatives to traditional surgery. Angioplasty and stenting require very small incisions which generally cause less pain and scarring and have faster recovery times. In more complicated cases, surgery may be indicated.