Aortoiliac Occlusive Disease: Causes and Treatments

Aortoiliac occlusive disease (AIOD) refers to the blockage of the aorta or the iliac arteries. The aorta divides into branches called around the level of the navel to supply blood to the legs and the pelvic organs. This blockage typically occurs due to a buildup of plaque within the walls of the blood vessels.

Patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) are commonly affected by AIOD. During the initial consultation, the vascular specialist will explain the probable causes and treatment options to the patient.

The profound Desert Vein and Vascular Institute (DVVI), led by innovative vein treatment specialists Dr. Pushpinder Sivia and Dr. Son Ha Yu, provides treatments for AIOD to patients in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, and La Quinta.


A number of risk factors exist for the development of the arterial lesions. Once the vascular specialist recognizes the specific factors or underlying causes of AIOD in a patient, they can prescribe appropriate treatment to reduce symptoms and help prolong the patient’s life.

One of the most common causes of aortoiliac disease is atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. This condition may occur due to smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, or excessive overweight. Sometimes inflammatory conditions in the arteries may also lead to arterial blockages.

If a patient has received radiation to the pelvis, it may cause progressive inflammation in the arterial wall in a few cases, resulting in blockages of the arteries.

Treatments for AIOD

Management of aortoiliac occlusive disease may involve modification of risks factors. The patient may be required to stop smoking, bring blood pressure and cholesterol within controllable levels through medication, manage diabetes, and maintain a balanced diet, regular exercise regimen, and an active lifestyle.

The specialist may prescribe medications, such as aspirin or another drug to prevent clot formation in the blood. Statins to help control cholesterol can also help prevent plaque progression.

If the symptoms do not improve with these non-operative treatments, the vascular surgeon may recommend a minimally invasive procedure or a surgical bypass.

Stent Placement

One of the common minimally invasive treatments is placing a stent in the patient’s aorta or iliac arteries. The procedure may be performed along with a catheter-directed angiogram test. The stent compresses the plaque against the walls of the arteries to allow for easier blood flow to the lower portion of the body. Sometimes the specialist may add an angioplasty to the treatment to further support to the opening up of the blocked arteries.

Surgical Bypass

A surgical bypass involves the creation of a detour around the blockage to allow for smoother blood flow. The detour may begin near the heart (in the aorta) and may end either in the iliac arteries, or in an artery in the groin. The surgeon may perform a bypass either on one or both sides at the same time. The surgical plan for a bypass will be determined according to the patient’s condition of the aorta and iliac arteries.

The notable and dignified DVVI receives patients from Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, Inland Empire, Riverside, California, and other cities and communities in this part of The Golden State for vein treatment as well as advanced AIOD treatments.

For more information on vein disease, call the vein specialists at Desert Vein and Vascular Institute today at 1.800.VARICOSE to schedule an appointment.