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Aortoiliac Occlusive Disease

Aortoiliac occlusive disease, also known as aortoiliac artery disease or aortoiliac stenosis, is a condition characterized by the narrowing or blockage of the aorta and/or iliac arteries. The aorta is the main artery that carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body, and the iliac arteries are the major branches that supply blood to the pelvis and legs.

The most common cause of aortoiliac occlusive disease is atherosclerosis, a condition where fatty deposits, cholesterol, and other substances build up on the inner walls of the arteries, forming plaques. Over time, these plaques can narrow the arteries, leading to reduced blood flow to the lower extremities.

Symptoms of aortoiliac occlusive disease may include:

    1. Claudication: Pain, cramping, or weakness in the buttocks, thighs, or calves during physical activity (such as walking) that improves with rest.
    2. Erectile dysfunction in men: Due to inadequate blood flow to the pelvis.
    3. Cold or numb extremities: Reduced blood flow may cause the legs and feet to feel cold or numb.
    4. Weak or absent pulses in the lower extremities: The doctor may not be able to feel strong pulses in the legs and feet during a physical examination.

If left untreated, aortoiliac occlusive disease can lead to more severe complications, such as critical limb ischemia, where blood flow is severely restricted, increasing the risk of tissue damage and limb loss.


Diagnosis typically involves a combination of physical examination, medical history assessment, and imaging tests such as ultrasound, computed tomography angiography (CTA), or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). These tests help visualize the narrowed or blocked arteries and determine the extent of the disease.

Treatment options for aortoiliac occlusive disease may include:

  1. Lifestyle modifications: Quitting smoking, adopting a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise can help manage the disease’s progression.
  1. Medications: Blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering drugs may be prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots and slow down plaque buildup.
  1. Angioplasty and stenting: A minimally invasive procedure where a balloon-tipped catheter is used to widen the narrowed artery, and a stent is placed to keep it open.
  1. Bypass surgery: In more severe cases, a surgical procedure may be performed to create a new pathway for blood flow, bypassing the narrowed or blocked area.

The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the disease, the patient’s overall health, and the presence of any other medical conditions. If you suspect you or someone you know may have aortoiliac occlusive disease, it’s essential to seek medical attention for proper evaluation and management.

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