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PAD POST VASCULAR INTERVENTION : Understanding Peripheral Artery Disease | Xarelto® (rivaroxaban) Welcome Kit

Understanding Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

What You Need to Know

The shock of being diagnosed with PAD can leave you feeling scared and uncertain about what lies ahead. But taking the steps to learn more about your condition, and what you need to do to help reduce your risk for having a heart attack or stroke, can help you make informed decisions about your health in the future.

What is PAD?

PAD affects up to 8.5 million people in the United States alone. It is a progressive condition that is the result of a process called atherosclerosis, where plaque builds up inside the arteries that supply blood to the limbs, usually the legs, and causes pain when walking.

Understanding PAD Could Help Lower Your Risk for Blood Clots

People with PAD have a high risk for blood clots due to a rupture of plaque in the arteries.

Diagram of normal artery, plaque buildup, and plaque rupture and blood clot

When plaque ruptures and forms a blood clot, it can cut off blood flow to the limbs, creating a serious blockage that may lead to amputation if left untreated. People with PAD also have an increased risk of having a life-threatening heart attack or stroke.

Treatments for PAD

Common treatments for PAD include certain procedures to restore blood flow to your legs:

  • A peripheral artery bypass graft surgery may have been performed to help restore blood flow and minimize the potential for future complications
  • A stent may have been implanted to open up the arteries and improve blood flow

However, even with a stent procedure, you’re still at risk for life-threatening blood clot–related events like heart attack, stroke, or even an amputation. Your healthcare professional may prescribe medicines to help reduce your risk for blood clots. Although many people with PAD take only a daily aspirin, it may not be enough to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Why Aspirin Alone May Not Be Enough

Current medicines that treat PAD after vascular intervention, such as aspirin-like therapies, have not been proven to show reduction of leg complications.

In fact, a clinical study showed that about 17% of people with PAD who had a vascular intervention (a procedure to improve blood flow to the legs) experienced a heart attack, stroke, reduction of blood flow in the leg, amputation, or cardiovascular-related death within about 1 year of the procedure.*

Your healthcare professional may prescribe a blood thinner in addition to your daily aspirin to help reduce your risk for blood clots that can cause a heart attack, stroke, reduction of blood flow in the legs, or an amputation.

*Study assessed the incidence of major blood clot-related events and rates of subsequent vascular interventions in people with PAD after vascular intervention.

What’s Next?

Read Learning About XARELTO® for more information about how XARELTO® works with aspirin to help reduce your risk for life-threatening blood clots related to PAD.