How is Peripheral Artery Disease Diagnosed?

Picture1An accurate diagnosis of Peripheral Artery Disease is dependent upon the location of the disease. A cardiologist will use one of the following methods to detect and monitor your artery health.: 

  • Auscultation: Physician uses a stethoscope to listen for the presence of a bruit, or "whooshing" sound in the arteries of the legs.  

  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI): An ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a quick, non-invasive test used to determine if blood flow may be inhibited in one or both legs. 

  • Doppler Ultrasound: A form of ultrasound measuring the direction and rate of blood flow through the vessels. 

  • CT angiography: An advanced X-ray procedure that uses a computer to generate three-dimensional images. 

  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MR angiography): A Magnetic resonance angiography is used to generate images of arteries in order to evaluate them for stenosis, occlusions, aneurysms or other abnormalities.

  • Angiogram: A diagnostic test that uses x-rays to take pictures of your blood vessels.

What Is An Ankle Brachial Index?

A simple test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI) often is
used to diagnose P.A.D. The ABI
compares blood pressure in
your ankle to blood pressure in
your arm. This test shows how
well blood is flowing in your limbs.

What Is a Pulse Volume Recording?

A Pulse Volume Recording is a
test which compares the blood
pressure in your legs to the
blood pressure in your arms.
It is a safe and painless test that
helps your physician determine
if your legs are getting the
proper amount of blood supply.

How is an Ultrasound Used in Diagnosing PAD?

A Doppler ultrasound looks at
blood flow in the major arteries
and veins in the limbs. A
handheld device is passed back
and forth over the affected area.
A computer converts sound
waves into a picture of blood
flow in the arteries and veins.

How Can Lifestyle Changes Help in Treating PAD?

Lifestyle changes, especially
smoking cessation and exercise,
are critical for every patient
with PAD. If caught early enough,
these lifestyle changes may be
the only treatment necessary
to lessen the symptoms of PAD.

Examples of Lifestyle Changes:

  • Consistent Exercise
  • Healthy Diet
  • Quit Smoking

What Are Some of the Minimally Invasive Procedures Used in Treating PAD?

Sometimes, lifestyle changes and medication are not enough to manage the symptoms of PAD, and minimally-invasive treatments or by-pass surgery is required.

Is By-Pass Surgery An Option in Treating PAD?

If there's a long portion of the artery in your leg that's completely blocked and you're having severe symptoms, surgery may be necessary. A vein from another part of the body can be used to “bypass” and reroute blood around the closed artery.

Benefits of Bypass Surgery Are:

  • Relieves PAD Symptoms
  • Restores Blood Flow To Extremities
  • Treatment Lasts Many Years

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