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Buerger’s Disease Treatment

While the Buerger’s disease treatment options are limited, there are ways that patients can help prevent the progression of this rare vascular condition. However, the first step in developing a treatment plan is understanding the symptoms and suspected causes of this disease.

Also referred to as thromboangiitis obliterans, Buerger’s disease is the recurring and progressive inflammation and clotting of the small and medium arteries of the hands and feet. When the arteries swell and clots form, the normal flow of blood is restricted and tissue damage can occur. Common symptoms can include:

  • Pain or tingling sensations in the arms, legs, hands, or feet that can become worse during use
  • Fingers or toes that turn white when exposed to cold
  • Inflammation of a blood vessel just below the surface of the skin
  • Painful, open sores on fingers or toes

What makes Buerger’s disease treatment difficult is the fact that its exact cause remains unknown. Some researchers have speculated that patients could have a genetic predisposition to the disease. Others have suggested that it could be caused by an autoimmune condition that causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissue.

A common factor among almost every Buerger’s disease sufferer is heavy tobacco use, so the most effective treatment option is to immediately cease all use of tobacco products. This may help control the progression of the disease and prevent serious damage that could lead to amputation, but it won’t reverse tissue damage that has already occurred. Other treatment approaches - such as medications to increase blood flow or stimulate growth of new blood vessels – are sometimes tried but are less effective.

At Tampa General Hospital’s Cardiovascular Center, our knowledgeable team of specialists provides top-level treatment for a wide-ranging list of heart and vascular conditions, including Buerger’s disease. To be referred to a specialist with Tampa General Hospital, please visit our online PhysicianFinder or call 1-800-822-DOCS (3627).