Buerger’s disease — also called thromboangiitis obliterans — is a rare vascular disease associated with smoking and tobacco use. It can cause pain and discoloration in your hands, feet, and legs and lead to serious complications if left untreated.
At the UPMC Division of Vascular Surgery, we take a team approach to
Buerger’s disease (thromboangiitis obliterans) is a rare vascular disease.
It causes inflammation and blockages in the small and medium-sized blood vessels in the arms and legs. These changes deprive tissue of the oxygen and nutrients it needs.
Tobacco use greatly increases the risk of Buerger’s disease. It is believed that the chemicals in tobacco irritate the lining of your blood vessels and cause them to swell.
Most people who have Buerger’s disease are those who use any form of tobacco, including:
Buerger’s disease is most common among young and middle-aged men who are heavy smokers. Those who smoke more than a pack and a half a day are most at risk for Buerger’s disease.
If left untreated, advanced Buerger’s disease can lead to gangrene — or tissue death — of your fingers or toes.
Doctors will often remove dead tissue with either an amputation or wide debridement.
For an appointment with a UPMC vascular surgeon, complete a vascular surgery appointment request form or call 1-855-876-2484 (UPMC HVI)
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Buerger's disease symptoms can include:
The symptoms of Buerger’s disease can be like those of other conditions. To diagnose Buerger's disease, your doctor may perform some tests to rule out other health problems.
Buerger’s disease diagnostic tests may include:
For an appointment with a UPMC vascular surgeon, complete a vascular surgery appointment request form or call 1-855-876-2484 (UPMC HVI).
There is no cure for Buerger’s disease.
The most effective way to keep the disease from getting worse is to stop smoking and using tobacco products.
You must also avoid exposure to cold temperatures and practice proper hand and foot care.
Other treatments — that may be less effective — can include: