Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Peripheral Vasospasm Overview

What is peripheral vasospasm?
A person with peripheral vasospasm can have sudden narrowing of an artery in the arms or legs. This causes a sudden reduction in the supply of oxygen to the hand or foot. Vasospasm is caused by Raynaud's disease and autoimmune diseases that cause vasculitis.

What are the symptoms of peripheral vasospasm?
The symptoms of peripheral vasospasm can be similar to peripheral vascular disease. Symptoms may include the sudden onset of leg pain or foot pain, feet that are cool to touch, numbness and tingling in the legs and feet, and weak pulses in the feet and legs.

How does the doctor treat peripheral vasospasm?
Treatment for peripheral vasospasm depends on the underlying cause. Treatment for peripheral vasospasm may include avoiding smoking, avoiding exposure to the cold, a low fat diet, a low cholesterol diet, weight loss, aspirin, blood thinners, thrombolytic medications, and surgery.

Last Updated: Aug 20, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Peripheral Vasospasm References
  1. Hodges H. Raynaud's disease: pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 1995 Apr;7(4):159-64. [7756043]
  2. Muir AH, Robb R, McLaren M, Daly F, Belch JJ. The use of Ginkgo biloba in Raynaud's disease: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Vasc Med. 2002;7(4):265-7. [12710841]
  3. Varon J, Gasman JD. Raynaud's disease: an update. Hosp Pract. 1991 Jan 15;26(1):157-9. [1898940]
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