Peripheral obliterative arteriopathy, or peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD) is a disease characterised by a reduced blood flow of the lower limbs during physical exercise or at rest, mainly due to an ongoing atherosclerotic process.
Atherosclerotic plaques cause narrowing or obstruction of the arteries by reducing blood flow to the lower limbs. PAOD can manifest itself in different ways, with different intensity based on the degree to which vessels are affected and the development of collateral circulation: asymptomatic arterial insufficiency, intermittent claudication (claudicatio intermittens), and pain when at rest.
In more severe forms of PAOD, patients develop critical ischemia of the lower limbs, with a deterioration of their function, which can require surgical revascularization procedures, or even amputation. As the disease is in most cases the expression of a severe and widespread atherosclerotic process, affected patients present a high risk of cardiac and cerebrovascular complications, especially without appropriate treatment.