Aging & Health A to Z
Peripheral Artery Disease
Diagnosis & Tests
Your healthcare professional can diagnose artery problems based on your symptoms, and a thorough history and physical exam, including blood tests to check your cholesterol levels and other factors.
Your healthcare provider may also want you to have one or more of these tests:
This test compares the blood pressure in your ankle with the blood pressure in your arm using a regular blood pressure cuff and an ultrasound device. This test is helpful to not only show if there is a blockage, but can also tell you how severe that blockage is.
CT Coronary Angiogram
This scan is being used more often to shows your heart and the arteries that bring blood to your heart muscle. It uses an advanced x-ray technique that involves some exposure to radiation, an injection of dye, and possibly a dose of a drug to slow your heart slightly. There is no need to thread a catheter into your heart as is done during a regular angiogram, so there is usually no recovery time needed after the test. However, if a narrow spot is found in an artery, the cardiac specialist will not be able to treat it right then with a treatment called angioplasty, as would be possible with a regular (non-CT) angiogram.
Doppler ultrasound flow studies
In this test, sound waves and a computer are used to create images of blood vessels and determine the flow of blood. A faint or absent sound may indicate a blockage in a blood vessel.
Updated: March 2012
Posted: March 2012