PAD may be suspected based on symptoms, such as intermittent claudication, and your medical history. Other signs of PAD, such as weak pulses in the lower extremities, may be found during a physical exam.
PAD is often confirmed with an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test. Blood pressure is measured in arteries at the elbow and ankle with a blood pressure cuff and Doppler ultrasound. The pressures are compared in a ratio. If the ratio is lower than expected, it indicates a problem with blood flow in the legs. If you have an irregular ABI test, your doctor may recommend a treadmill test to assess your walking ability and distance.
CT angiography (CTA). Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angioct. Updated August 27, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.
Hills AJ, Shalhoub J, et al. Peripheral arterial disease. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2009;70(10):560-565.
How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pad/diagnosis.html. Updated June 2, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of lower extremities. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 13, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.
Symptoms and diagnosis of PAD. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/PeripheralArteryDisease/Symptoms-and-Diagnosis-of-PAD_UCM_301306_Article.jsp. Updated August 16, 2012. Accessed June 23, 2014.
Last reviewed May 2015 by Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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