Vascular medicine, also known as ‘angiology’, is the medical speciality which deals with arterial, venous and lymphatic diseases affecting the human body as a whole.
Angiology allows for enhanced clinical diagnosis thanks to non-invasive functional vascular explorations (without any breaking of tissue). Its aim is to confirm cases of arterial and/or venous impairment. It represents part of a diagnostic and therapeutic medical approach, and also plays a role in the preventive care and monitoring of patients who are at high risk of vascular impairment and in monitoring and following on the progress of patients after a surgical vascular intervention.
The Doppler ultrasonography examination (two-dimensional ultrasonography) in angiology has become a vital early examination technique to confirm a diagnosis of lesions to the blood vessels and to guide therapeutic decision-making depending on the lesions that have been identified.
Other examinations include:
- Plethysmography, which measures the blood pressure in the big toe
- The measurement of transcutaneous oxygen pressure (TcPO2)
- Arterial stress test using a treadmill
The results of these tests can:
- Confirm cases of arterial or venous impairment
- Guide the doctor regarding the origin of the symptoms
- Indicate whether other further investigations (CT-Scan, MRI…) should be carried out
- Provide orientation for treatment (medical or surgical treatment, or endovascular procedures)
Angiology is very closely connected to cardiology and vascular surgery, but also has links to other specialities such as internal medicine, neurology, dermatology, diabetology and rheumatology.
The numerous arterial conditions that can be diagnosed include atherosclerotic arteriopathy (degeneration of the blood vessels) and diabetic arteriopathy, which causes constrictions and occlusions of the arteries, as well as aneurysmal pathologies, which dilate the arteries. This speciality’s activities also include drawing up a pre-operative report and monitoring dialysis fistula (linking of an artery and a vein).
Varicose disease (varices) and thromboembolic venous disease (occlusion of the blood vessel by a clot) are common conditions which are investigated and treated by angiologists, usually in the outpatient clinic.
Angiology consultations in the hospital are provided on Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons (Sion Hospital) by angiologists working in the Canton, exclusively for patients who are hospitalised in the various establishments of Valais Hospital. Outpatients are seen during the angiologists’ private consultations.