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Diabetic Arterial Disease

Diabetes affects millions of Americans and the number of patients diagnosed with the disease has increased dramatically in the last 10 years.

Diabetics often have atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and neuropathy (abnormal sensation, especially in the feet). As a result, diabetics are very prone to ulcers or sores on their feet. Even with diligent management of sugar levels and foot care, ulcers still may develop on the feet.

Vascular surgeons are experts in the evaluation and treatment of diabetic foot wounds, and UPMC’s vascular surgeons started the first wound clinic in western Pennsylvania and treat more than 1,000 diabetic patients with diabetic wounds every year.

Vascular surgeon use ultrasound, wound care, catheter-based interventions, and surgery to heal foot wounds.

As experts in catheter-based interventions for diabetic arterial disease, UPMC vascular surgeons use angioplasty, stenting, laser, and atherectomy. The surgeons have done extensive research in these treatments and we currently have the only research site in the nation where endovascular (minimally invasive) treatments are being compared to wound care in order to determine what heals diabetic wounds the fastest.

Surgical bypass may be necessary when diabetic arterial disease results in ulcers that won’t heal, and the patient’s foot is in jeopardy. The unique pattern of diabetic arterial disease may require working with tiny arteries near the foot. UPMC vascular surgeons have extensive experience, and have been recognized for their work in imaging and successfully treating this difficult type of disease as well as performing these specialized bypasses to save the foot.

For more information on diabetic arterial disease, visit the Society for Vascular Surgery’s website at

Contact the UPMC Heart & Vascular Institute

Request an appointment online, call 1-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484), or email us.

Refer a patient: 1-866-884-8579

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