Aortoiliac disease is the narrowing or blockage of an iliac artery.

The aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body, runs through the center of your chest and abdomen, carrying oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. The iliac arteries branch off your aorta and carry blood to your legs.

Aortoiliac disease, a type of peripheral artery disease, results from fatty deposits, called plaque, building up in the arteries and causing them to become narrow and blocked. This buildup (atherosclerosis) not only slows down blood flow, it also makes the arteries vulnerable to injury and clot formation.

Aortoiliac disease can cause the following problems:

Aortoiliac Disease Risk Factors

Because aortoiliac disease is mainly caused by atherosclerosis, the risk factors are the same:

Aortoiliac Disease Symptoms

Early in aortoiliac disease, you may experience pain, cramping and fatigue in your lower body when you walk or exercise. As the disease worsens, you may have more severe symptoms, including:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Severe pain, coldness or numbness
  • Ulcers (sores) on your toes, heels or lower legs
  • Weakened muscles
  • Gangrene (tissue death)

Aortoiliac Disease Diagnosis

At Wake Forest Baptist Health, we use several tests to determine whether you have aortoiliac disease and, if so, how severe it is. First, your physician will perform a physical exam. If your physician suspects that you may have aortoiliac disease, he or she may recommend any of the following tests:

Aortoiliac Disease Treatment

We believe it's just as important to manage your disease as it is to treat it. For some patients, medical management may be an effective alternative to surgery.

If you have a mild or moderate case of aortoiliac disease, or if you have already undergone surgery, we may prescribe one or more of the following:

  • High cholesterol management
  • Medications
  • Lifestyle change, such as quitting smoking or losing weight
  • Exercise
  • Regular follow-up care to monitor your condition

In more severe cases, we may recommend surgery. Surgical options include:

Only you and your doctor can decide which aortoiliac disease treatment is right for you. All of our patients receive pre-operative counseling to help them understand the risks and benefits of procedures.

Heart and Vascular Center

Wake Forest Baptist’s Heart and Vascular Center combines cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery and vascular surgery to provide a multidisciplinary team approach to patient- and family-centered care. At the Heart and Vascular Center, our philosophy is clear: patients come first. We offer the latest in technology, devices and medication combined with personalized care, to offer life-changing vascular and heart disease treatments.