Early diagnosis does not only help to treat all relevant symptoms effectively, it also helps to reduce risks of developing coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease that affect heart and brain, respectively. Tests and procedures to diagnose peripheral artery disease include:
- Ankle-brachial index (ABI). This is a common test used to diagnose PAD. It compares the systolic blood pressure in the ankle with the systolic blood pressure in the arm.To get a blood pressure reading, a regular blood pressure cuff and a special ultrasound device are used to evaluate blood pressure and flow.
For result interpretation, normal value of ABI is equal to 1. Blood pressure in the ankle or leg should be equal to or more than blood pressure in the arm. If blood pressure in the ankle or leg is less than blood pressure obtained in the arm, the narrowed vessels might be suspected. This test is non-invasive and convenient. The result can usually lead to diagnosis without any side effects caused to the patients.
- For further investigation, imaging tests might be additionally required such as computed tomography (256-Slice Multi Detector CT Scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
- Confirmatory diagnosis might be made by angiography. During the procedure, a dye (contrast material) is injected into blood vessels. This test allows cardiac specialists to clearly view blood flow through the arteries. The cardiac specialists are able to trace the flow of the contrast material by using imaging techniques e.g. X-ray or procedures called magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or computerized tomography angiography (CTA).
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