Vascular services deal with diseases of the circulation, other than within the brain or the heart.
Our research has looked at the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of treatments for all the most common conditions and has also considered how services can best be delivered and evaluated.
These are the main conditions managed by vascular services:
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
Peripheral arterial disease is a condition where the arteries to the legs become narrowed or blocked causing poor circulation to the legs.
This may cause pain when walking or, in more severe cases, it may lead to ulceration of the leg or foot that can lead to leg amputation, if treatment is unsuccessful.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)
Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a stretched area in the main artery in the abdomen that can lead to bleeding if left untreated.
In the UK, there is now a screening programme to identify aneurysms before they cause trouble.
If treatment is required this may require a major operation or may be amenable to treatment by keyhole techniques.
Carotid artery disease
Disease in the arteries of the neck may result in small clots or material from the narrowed areas causing blockages to the arteries to the brain that lead to temporary weakness (transient ischaemic attacks) or visual disturbance (amaurosis) or may lead to strokes.
Surgical treatment of the narrowed neck arteries may help to reduce the risk of future strokes.
Varicose veins are a common condition, which is usually minor, but can lead to more severe symptoms, skin changes and ulceration.
There are a number of new techniques for treating these, including radio-frequency ablation and endogenous laser treatment.
Vascular services also deal with some less common conditions, including problems with circulation to the arms and abdominal organs and provide support to many other services including services for people with diabetes, major trauma and other conditions where there is a risk of damage to arteries and veins.
In recent years vascular services have become increasingly specialised.
Vascular surgery has become a separate specialty from general surgery and there has been an increasing trend to specialisation within radiological and medical services for vascular disease.