Vascular disorders are problems with arteries and veins. Arteries are the pipes that bring blood from the heart to the fingers. When you feel your pulse in the wrist, you are feeling the radial artery. On the other side of the wrist is the ulnar artery, which is harder to feel. The ulnar and radial artery connect in the palm into two arches that continue towards the fingers. Each finger has two branches, the radial digital branch and the ulnar digital branch. When you cut your finger, if the bleeding pulsates, you likely cut into the artery. You can damage one digital artery to the finger, but if you damage both, the blood flow to the finger can be severely compromised.
Veins are the pipes that return the used blood back to the heart and lungs. When you get blood drawn or an IV placed in your hand, it is usually placed in a vein.
Vascular disorders are relatively uncommon in the upper extremities. They can cause problems such as pain, open wounds, or even loss of body parts.