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Arterial insufficiency

Definition

Arterial insufficiency is any condition that slows or stops the flow of blood through your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to other places in your body.

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Causes, incidence, and risk factors

One of the most common causes of arterial insufficiency is atherosclerosis , or "hardening of the arteries." Fatty material (called plaque) builds up on the walls of your arteries, causing them to become narrow and stiff . This makes it hard for bood to flow through your arteries.

Blood flow may be suddenly stopped due to a blood clot (also called embolus). The clot usually breaks off from the fatty material built up in the wall of an artery.

Symptoms

Symptoms depend on where your arteries become narrowed:

References

Aufderheide TP. Peripheral arteriovascular disease. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. . 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 85.

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Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.