Vascular medicine

What does vascular medicine mean?

Angiology/vascular medicine is the branch of internal medicine that deals with identifying and treating vascular disease. The disease states encompass diseases of the vasculature leading from the heart (arteries) as well as the vasculature leading to the heart (veins, lymphatic vessels).

Arterial disease

Arteriosclerosis accounts for over 90 percent of arterial disease. It can lead to plaque formation, constrictions (stenoses) or occlusion. The following vascular diseases are particularly relevant in terms of frequency and clinical consequences

•    peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD) of the pelvic and leg arteries
•    constriction of the neck arteries (carotid arteries)
•    constriction of the renal and visceral arteries (mesenteric vessels)
•    coronary heart disease

Furthermore, the following conditions affect the arterial branches.

•    aneurysms (dilatations)
•    embolisms (blood clots that are transported to the smaller vessels)
•    blood vessel abnormalities and inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis)

Venous disease

Venous disease encompasses

•    varicose veins (varicosis) caused by weakness of the superficial venous system with various forms of manifestation
•    chronic venous insufficiency due to weakness of the deep venous system
•    vein thrombosis that may cause post-thrombotic syndrome, open leg ulcer or a pulmonary embolism
•    superficial inflammation of the veins (thrombophlebitis) among other conditions

Lymphatic system disorders usually present as lymphoedema that is caused by the following conditions
•    an inherited weakness or aplasia of the lymphatic channels (primary lymphoedema) or
•    acquired damage to the lymphatic flow as a result of other conditions (secondary lymphoedema) e.g. following surgery.

Functional circulatory disorders are caused when the vascular system is poorly regulated by the autonomic nervous system. There is no structural damage of the blood vessels (white finger disease, acrocyanosis etc.).

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