Heart and Vascular: Vascular Care
Arteries, capillaries, and veins — known as blood vessels — form your vascular system. This system plays a vital role in moving blood and nutrients through your body.
Your arteries send oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from your heart to your limbs, organs, and tissues. Once your body uses the needed oxygen, your veins move blood back to your heart, where the cycle begins again.
Thin-walled blood vessels called capillaries connect arteries and veins, allowing oxygen and waste products to move to and from tissues.
When issues arise, you may need the care of a vascular specialist. Our consultants treat a wide range of conditions that affect the vascular system.
Make an Appointment for Vascular Care
Ask your GP to refer you and contact a vascular consultant at a UPMC location near you to discuss your treatment options.
We offer treatment for vascular conditions at:
Providing you with excellent medical care is at the heart of everything we do at UPMC.
Travelling to UPMC for care
UPMC offers access to expert care within a short drive from home. We have locations in Kilkenny, Kildare, and Waterford and an outreach centre in Carlow.
Many of our locations are accessible from the M9. UPMC Kildare is reachable from Dublin in under an hour and is just off the N7.
Causes and Risks of Vascular Conditions
Blood vessel issues can affect the health of your entire body.
Problems in the arteries and veins can result from:
- Genetic factors (conditions passed down from your parents).
- Diseases affecting your heart, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Injuries or infections.
You might be at risk for vascular issues if you don't exercise or are overweight. You may also be at risk if you smoke.
Vascular Conditions We Treat
UPMC consultants treat a wide range of vascular conditions, including:
- Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI): Damaged or dysfunctional valves in the veins allow blood to pool, putting pressure on the vein wall. Left untreated, CVI can lead to blood clots and ulcers that may become infected.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): Blood cells stick together, forming a clump deep within a vein. Pieces of these clots can break off and travel to the lungs. A blood clot in the lung is a pulmonary embolism and can be life-threatening.
- Peripheral vascular disease (PVD): PVD is acirculation disorder. It causes blood clots, swelling, or narrowing of the blood vessels in the arms, legs, and organs outside the heart.
- Spider veins: Veins, mostly in the legs or on the face, become visible when the valves that regulate blood flow become weak. These veins are usually blue or purple.
- Varicose veins: Veins, most often in the legs, become raised and bulge out from the skin. Blood can pool in these veins and cause dangerous clots.
- Vasculitis (phlebitis): The immune system attacks blood vessels, causing inflammation.
Specialised Vascular Services at UPMC
UPMC consultants diagnose and treat many blood vessel conditions and we:
- Offer screening of the carotid arteries (vessels in the neck that carry blood between the heart and brain).
- Assess and scan for varicose veins and DVT.
- Use the ankle-brachial index (ABI) to compare the blood pressure in the upper and lower body and diagnose peripheral artery disease.
We also use the following tests to diagnose heart and blood vessel problems:
- Echocardiogram (ECG): Sound waves to create images of how your heart pumps blood.
- Stress Echcardiogram: A Stress Echo is a test used to evaluate coronary artery disease. During this test the heart needs to be working at its hardest.
- Implantable loop recorder (ILR): A device we implant under the skin of the chest to check your heart's electrical signals.
- Monitoring: Round-the-clock blood pressure checks. We also use a 24-hour Holter monitor to track your heart's rhythm.
- Transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE): TEE uses a flexible tube or probe with a small ultrasound transducer. We insert the tube into your throat, oesophagus, and stomach to find infections or structural anomalies.
We offer a range of specialised treatments to manage and correct heart and vascular conditions, such as:
- Cardioversion: A device, known as a defibrillator, provides an electric shock to the heart to correct abnormal heart rhythms.
- Pacemaker: A small electronic device goes under the skin to regulate the heartbeat.
Other vascular treatment services at UPMC
- Central venous access: Our consultants place a special catheter in the skin to make longer-term IV access easier.
- Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) treatment: We suggest compression garments and exercise to improve blood flow. For advanced CVI, we can operate.
- Laser therapy for varicose veins: We apply heat from a laser to shrink varicose veins.
- Leg ulcer treatment: We clean and dress leg wounds to help prevent infection and promote healing.
Why Choose UPMC for Vascular Care?
Our vascular experts:
- Specialise in diagnosing and treating blood vessel conditions.
- Use the newest minimally invasive techniques to maximise your comfort and recovery.
- Work closely with our cardiology team to improve heart and vascular health.
- Offer referrals for other services throughout the UPMC network.
We're also long term partners of the HSE (Health Service Executive) and private insurers. We work hard to make sure everyone has equal access to high-quality and timely healthcare.
Healthcare providers who wish to refer a patient can do so via HealthLink or email.