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Vascular Disease

Learn how blocked vessels affect your health.

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St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Allentown, Bethlehem, Monroe, Upper Bucks, and Warren campuses received the highest possible star rating - three stars - for their active participation in the SVS VQI Registry Participation Program – the only facilities in the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington DC.


Restore healthy blood flow for a full life.

It’s essential to go with the flow – keep everything moving in the right direction and remove any obstacles. A healthy vascular system – your body’s network of blood vessels – does just that. But sometimes, fatty deposits, blood clots, inflammation or injury block blood flow, weakening vessels. Over time, this can cause serious complications. Should this happen to you, rest assured our vascular surgeons are ready to diagnose your condition, open and strengthen weakened vessels and restore blood flow.


Vascular disease is a group of diseases that affect the blood vessels—arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels—that deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and remove waste from your tissues. Hardened fat and cholesterol, called plaque, is a major cause of vascular disease because it can build up within your vessels and block blood flow. Vascular disease can occur anywhere in your body with insufficient blood flow and puts you at risk for developing life-threatening conditions. At St. Luke’s you not only get a physician, but an entire team of vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists who discuss complex cases as a group to provide you with the best possible treatment plan.

Conditions we treat

All vascular diseases, despite their differences, share the potential to disrupt blood flow and require specialized treatment. This diversity necessitates a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Some of the conditions we look for using diagnostics and testing include:

  • Aneurysm
  • Aortic dissections
  • Aortoiliac occlusive disease
  • Carotid artery disease (CAD)
  • Chronic venous disease
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Diabetic vascular disease
  • Leg pain
  • Leg swelling (edema)
  • Lymphedema
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Stroke
  • Varicose veins
  • Vascular malformations
  • Vasculitis
  • Venous insufficiency

What is an aneurysm?

An aneurysm is a ballooning and weakened area in an artery. They often occur in the aorta, brain, back of the knee, intestine, kidney or spleen. A ruptured aneurysm can result in internal bleeding or stroke and can sometimes be fatal. Your physician may treat your aneurysm with minimally invasive endovascular surgery, traditional (open) surgery or a combination of both. Factors considered are the aneurysm’s size, location and shape, as well as your age and health condition.

Often aneurysms are small and do not require immediate treatment and can be monitored safely by your surgeon. St. Luke’s was the first in the region to offer a groundbreaking clinical trial to treat small- to medium-sized aneurysms that cannot be treated in a traditional manner.

Aneurysms can occur anywhere in the body but the most prevalent are:

Aortic aneurysms occur when the main artery in the chest or abdomen weakens and becomes enlarged. When an aortic aneurysm is left untreated, it can break open (rupture) and cause death or permanent problems. In the United States, aortic aneurysm is the 10th leading cause of death in men aged 55 years and older.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are bulges or swelling in the aorta in the chest or abdomen.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) are weakened area in the upper part of the aorta — the major blood vessel that feeds blood to the body. Aneurysms can develop anywhere in the aorta. Most patients can be treated safely with a minimally-invasive thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair stent graft (TEVAR).

Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are bulges or swelling in the aorta in the abdomen.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) are weakened area in the upper part of the aorta — the major blood vessel that feeds blood to the body. Aneurysms can develop anywhere in the aorta. Thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR) is an effective treatment for most patients.


Vascular screening program

St. Luke’s Vascular Screening Program can identify vascular disease before problems occur and prevent life-threatening conditions or long-term disabilities, including aneurysms and stroke.

The screening consists of three scans:

  • Carotid Ultrasound scans for the build-up of fatty blockages, or plaque, in the carotid arteries in the neck that may lead to a stroke.
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm scans for a ballooning of the wall of the abdominal aorta, or aneurysm, which may rupture and be fatal.
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) uses the ankle brachial index (ABI) to check for blockages, narrowing, and plaque buildup in the leg arteries.
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When medications fail to improve blood flow, minimally-invasive, non-surgical endovascular procedures are often used as an alternative to traditional, “open” surgery. These treatments use tiny, thin tubes (catheters), balloons, stents and other devices inserted inside (endo) the artery or vein to gain access and treat the diseased area. At St. Luke's, we understand the importance of personalized treatment plans, working closely with each patient to address their specific needs and concerns and incorporate our proactive programs and solutions to develop strategies that you can utilize for an improved quality of life.

  • Aortic aneurysm repair
  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Carotid stenting
  • Deep vein arterialization (e.g. Limflow)
  • Dialysis access creation & maintenance
  • First Rib Resection for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Incisionless leg bypass
  • Kidney artery disease
  • Mesenteric vascular disease treatment
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Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Exercise Therapy

St. Luke's Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) program is a medically supervised outpatient exercise and education program for patients who have pain or fatigue from limited blood flow. PAD rehabilitation is suitable for patients recently diagnosed, have a long history of PAD symptoms or have undergone revascularization surgery and continue to have symptoms.

Learn more about PAD Exercise Therapy
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Incisionless leg bypass

Incisionless percutaneous transmural arterial bypass (PTAB) uses the DETOUR™ system, a new technology, to treat blocked arteries in the leg, restore circulation and prevent limb loss. PTAB utilizes a synthetic graph to bypass blood flow around the blocked artery. Patients are discharged the same day as the procedure as compared with a multi-day hospital stay with traditional bypass. St. Luke’s is the first in the region to offer this procedure.

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