Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.)

Frequently Asked Questions

6. What are the tests a doctor might use to tell if I have P.A.D.?

There are several tests used to diagnose P.A.D. These include

  • an ankle-brachial index (ABI). This test compares blood pressure in your ankle to blood pressure in your arm. It shows how well blood is flowing in your limbs.
  • a Doppler ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to show whether a blood vessel is blocked. A blood pressure cuff and special device measure blood flow in the veins and arteries of the limbs. A Doppler ultrasound can help find out how where P.A.D. is.
  • a treadmill test. This test shows if you have any problems during normal walking, how severe your symptoms are, and what level of exercise brings them on.
  • a magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA). This test uses magnetic and radio waves to take pictures of your blood vessels. An MRA can find the location of a blocked blood vessel and show how severe the blockage is.
  • an arteriogram. This test is used to find the exact location of a blocked artery. Dye is injected through a needle or catheter (thin tube) into an artery, then an X-ray is taken. The pictures from the X-ray can show the location, type, and extent of the blockage in the artery.
  • blood tests. These tests check for P.A.D. risk factors such as diabetes and high blood cholesterol levels.