Peripheral Artery 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 looks at blood flow in the major arteries and veins in the limbs. During this test, a handheld device is placed on your body and passed back and forth over the affected area. A computer converts sound waves into a picture of blood flow in the arteries and veins. The results of this test can show whether a blood vessel is blocked. The results also can help show the severity of P.A.D.
  • 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. You will walk on a treadmill during the test. You may have an ABI test before and after the treadmill test. This will help compare blood flow in your arms and legs before and after exercise.
  • 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 and severity of a blocked blood vessel .
  • an arteriogram. This test is used to find the exact location of a blocked artery. Dye is injected through a needle or catheter (tube) into an artery, then an X-ray is taken. 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.