Peripheral Arterial Disease Testing - NYCVA - Common Heart Problems NY
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Cardiology

Cardiac Testing
Peripheral Arterial Disease Testing (PAD)

About the test

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD, also called peripheral artery disease) is a common disorder of the circulatory system. With PAD, narrowed arteries diminish blood flow to your limbs. When your limbs, usually your legs, aren’t getting enough blood then you will start to experience the symptoms of PAD, like leg pain. PAD can also be a sign of a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels (atherosclerosis), which can reduce blood flow to the heart, brain, and legs.

PAD can be diagnosed with several noninvasive tests. These include: arterial ultrasound scanning, ankle-brachial index testing, pulse volume recording, and segmental pressure recording. Patients diagnosed with PAD can be treated with lifestyle changes, medications, and/or interventional techniques such as angioplasty and/or stenting. (Click here to learn more about Angioplasty and Stenting).

Why it’s done

Your primary physician may refer you to a vascular specialist or cardiologist if you have leg pain, numbness, sores on your legs that won’t heal, or other symptoms of PAD. Your cardiologist or vascular specialist will then recommend PAD testing. Diagnosing and treating PAD early is important to prevent worsening of the condition, or the development of other conditions that can result from PAD and plaque buildup, including critical limb ischemia, stroke, and heart attack.

What to expect

Preparation: Preparation depends on the PAD test your cardiologist or vascular specialist has recommended for you. You will be given specific preparation instructions before your testing appointment.

During: PAD tests are noninvasive and painless. Depending on your medical history and symptoms, you may have one or more of the following PAD tests:
Arterial Ultrasound Scanning
: Special ultrasound will be used to take images of your blood vessels and arteries. This will allow your doctor to examine blood flow through your blood vessels and identify any narrowed or blocked arteries.

Ankle-Brachial Index Testing
: Ankle-brachial index (ABI) testing is commonly used to diagnose PAD. This test compares the blood pressure in your ankle with the blood pressure in your arm. To obtain your blood pressure and blood flow, your doctor will use a blood pressure cuff and an ultrasound device. In a normal finding, the pressure of the ankle will be higher than the pressure of the arm. If your ankle pressure is lower, this indicates a narrowing or blockage in the leg arteries as is seen with PAD.

Pulse Volume Recording: Pulse volume recording (PVR) is another common test to detect PAD. This test involves measuring your blood pressure and blood volume at multiple places on your legs. Your doctor will place blood pressure cuffs on your legs and inflate the cuffs to a moderate pressure. The results of this test will show changes in the blood volume in your legs. This information is used to diagnose PAD, as well as determine the severity of the disease.

Segmental Pressure Recording: Segmental pressure recording uses blood pressure measurements to determine the presence of arterial obstruction in the thigh, calf, or ankle. Your doctor will take your blood pressure using blood pressure cuffs and a special probe device placed at your ankle. The results are then used to diagnose PAD and evaluate its severity.

After: When your PAD test is complete, you can resume your normal routine. Your cardiologist or vascular specialist will discuss your test results with you. If you are diagnosed with PAD, your doctor will develop a treatment plan and/or recommend additional tests to further evaluate the severity of your condition.

Getting the best cardiac care

New York Cardiovascular Associates is unique in having a team of physicians specializing in multiple cardiovascular fields. This gives our patients access to leading experts in arterial and vascular diseases, in addition to heart disease specialists. Our top vascular specialists and cardiologists team up to give you the best diagnosis and treatment of PAD. Our physicians will carefully assess your medical history and symptoms, and develop a diagnostic and treatment plan that’s right for you. If you also other cardiac or circulatory conditions in addition to PAD, our team will work together to devise a comprehensive plan that meets all your health needs.

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