What is Angiology?
As a relatively young branch of internal medicine, Angiology deals with the diseases of the vessels of the human body.
The spectrum of the treatment options is very divers, complex and includes diagnosis, therapy and prevention of vascular diseases. As of interdisciplinary nature, the field of Angiology overlaps in many ways and often with other disciplines. Those other disciplines include cardiology, neurology, dermatology and others.
There are also several sub-specialties of the medical branch Angiology, one of the better known ones is the Phlebology. As such, Phlebology deals in particular with venous diseases. The therapy of these diseases needs to be carried out by means of the most modern procedures.
Important and common diseases which Angiology focuses on
Vascular diseases are dangerous and need the right treatment, as they can affect arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels and have a wide variety of causes.
One type of disease Angiology is focused on are Arteriosclerotic diseases. In arteriosclerosis, connective tissue, fats and calcium are increasingly deposited in the arterial walls. This results in processes which progressively narrowing the vessel. This results in circulatory disturbances, up to vessel occlusion, whereby the supplied tissue dies. There are a variety of diverse causes of the arteriosclerotic vascular disease: Often they are underlying diseases such as diabetes mellitus or general risk factors such as chronic nicotine consumption, elevated cholesterol levels and obesity. One well known example is here the so-called “smoker’s leg”, an arterial occlusive disease of the leg arteries, in which the tissue becomes necrotic, i.e. dies, as a result of their occlusion.
Another type of common diseases which Angiology is focused on are Inflammatory vascular diseases. If pathogens penetrate arteries, veins or lymph vessels, they can become inflamed. This can lead to dangerous complications the like of thrombosis or embolism.
The causes are here very different then the ones of Arteriosclerotic diseases. Often this type of disease is related to injuries and penetration of pathogens. One example would be here through animal bites, but also further through cannulas and syringes or stings.
One type of disease which can take very different forms and can affect all vessels of the body, which makes it very tricky to discover and dangerous are functional vascular diseases. Common risk factors responsible for this type of disease include high blood pressure, smoking and underlying diseases. Common functional vascular diseases include thrombosis and edema. Thrombosis refers to intravascular blood clotting that can occur in arteries and veins, which then either occludes the original vessel or detaches and cause a vessel occlusion. Compared to a thrombosis, an edema is swelling cause by increased leakage of fluid from the vessels. Causes here include drainage problems such as thrombosis, inflammation, or lack of exercise. This kind of disease can also appear as a result of prolonged hospital stay.
Diagnosis and therapy
As shocking as it sounds: As life expectancy is today increasing continuously, vascular diseases do so, too. This is in particular the case for vascular diseases in the brain and legs: Numbers here increase steadily.
As the most common cause of arterial diseases can the arteriosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”) be named here, which leads to deposits in the vessel walls and forms narrowing or occlusion.
Angiology is a very complex and diverse medical branch of internal medicine with a main focus on the diagnosis and the treatment of arterial circulatory disorders and venous diseases. All diseases and functional disorders are detected using modern diagnostic methods. One advantage of Angiology is that for diagnosis of the diseases treated mainly ultrasound diagnostics is used: This is not just painless, but it has no side effects and can be repeated as often as required with a high diagnostic accuracy.
Treatment spectrum and examinations of Angiology
The treatment spectrum of Angiology is very multifaceted and includes:
- Treatment of peripheral arterial occlusive disease and inflammatory vascular diseases
- Interventions with balloon catheters
- Dissolution of blood clots in arteries
- Mechanical removal of thrombi
- Treatment of deep vein thrombosis of the legs
The examinations are especially versatile for this kind of medical branch, including:
- Doppler examination of the peripheral vessels
- Oscillometry and oscillography
- Doppler color sonography of the leg arteries
- Doppler color sonography for evaluation of vessels in the neck region
- Digital subtraction angiography of the leg arteries
- MR angiography