Vascular Medicine

At UConn Health, we have an experienced team of vascular specialists including vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists, and nurses who provide the highest quality of care to patients with vascular disease. As the only university hospital in northern and central Connecticut, we offer our patients the advantages of the latest health care research and innovations.

Common Conditions Caused by Vascular Disease

Abdominal aortic aneurysm refers to a progressive weakening of the aortic wall that causes dilation or "ballooning" of the vessel. The aneurysm will grow larger and eventually rupture if it is not diagnosed and treated.

Carotid artery disease occurs when the major arteries in your neck become narrowed or blocked. This narrowing or blockage may lead to stroke or "brain attack."

Peripheral artery disease is a circulatory condition that occurs when the arteries that deliver oxygenated blood from the heart to the body become narrowed. Blood flow to your legs is reduced, causing symptoms such as leg pain when walking.

Thoracic aortic aneurysm is a weakening and subsequent expansion of a section of the aorta, the body’s main blood vessel. The bulging section of the aorta can rupture, leading to internal bleeding and possible death.

Thoracic outlet syndrome refers to a variety of conditions that develop when the blood vessels in the space between your collarbone and first rib are constricted or compressed. Symptoms may include numbness or tingling in your arms or hands, pain in your neck, shoulder or hand, discoloration (blue tinge) in your hand or fingers, and weak or easily-fatigued arms or hands.

Thoracoabdominal aneurysm occurs when the aorta wall weakens and expands in the area between your chest and your abdomen. If the wall bursts, life-threatening bleeding can occur. Symptoms may include dull to sharp pain in the abdomen, chest, lower back or groin.

Varicose veins are swollen veins that you can see through your skin. They often look blue, bulging and twisted. If left untreated, varicose veins may worsen over time. Large varicose veins can cause aching and fatigue as well as skin changes like rashes, redness, and sores.

Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot of the deep veins. This condition can be dangerous if the clot breaks free, travels through your bloodstream, and lodges in your lung, heart or, less commonly, your brain.

Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the valves in your veins become weak causing the blood to pool in your legs and cause swelling and sometimes pain. Advanced weakening may lead to skin color changes and ulcerations.

Visceral artery disease occurs when the arteries that deliver blood from the heart to the intestines, spleen, and liver narrow, reducing blood flow to these locations. When blood flow is reduced to the intestines, pain after eating and weight loss can occur.

Risk Factors

Some of the risk factors for vascular disease are:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Family history
  • Age (over 50)


The vascular specialist will ask you questions about your medical history and perform a physical exam. In addition, tests such as CT scan, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or angiography may be performed.


Many people with vascular disease can be treated with lifestyle changes or medications to prevent the progression of this disease. Additionally, minimally invasive endovascular intervention or interventional radiology procedures can provide alternatives to traditional surgery. Angioplasty and stenting require very small incisions which generally cause less pain and scarring and have faster recovery times. In more complicated cases, surgery may be recommended.

At UConn Health, our vascular medicine physicians collaborate with an experienced team of vascular and endovascular surgeons to provide our patients with the highest quality of patient-centered care.

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