The most common test for PAD is the ABI, a painless exam in which a special stethoscope is used to compare the blood pressure in your feet and arms. Based on the results of your ABI, as well as your symptoms and risk factors for PAD, the physician can decide if further tests are needed. When the ABI indicates that an individual may have PAD, other imaging techniques may be used to confirm the diagnosis, including duplex ultrasound, magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and computed tomography (CT) angiography.
The ABI Test
The ABI Test for PAD
The ABI is a simple, painless test to help your physician determine if you have PAD. The blood pressure in your arms and ankles is checked using a regular blood pressure cuff and a special ultrasound stethoscope called a Doppler. The pressure in your ankle is compared to the pressure in your arm to determine how well your blood is flowing and whether further tests are needed.
If you suspect that you may have PAD, it is important that you see your personal physician for an evaluation. If you are concerned about PAD, you can take the following self-test to determine if you are at risk.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Self-test
Your answers to these questions will help you know if you are at risk.
• Do you have cardiovascular (heart) problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke?
• Do you have diabetes?
• Do you have a family history of diabetes or cardiovascular problems (immediate family such as parent, sister, brother)?
• Do you have aching, cramping or pain in your legs when you walk or exercise, but then the pain goes away when you rest?
• Do you have pain in your toes or feet at night?
• Do you have any ulcers or sores on your feet or legs that are slow in healing?
• Do you smoke?
• Have you ever smoked?
• Are you more than 25 pounds overweight?
• Do you eat fried or fatty foods three times a week or more?
• Do you have an inactive lifestyle?
The more "Yes" answers you have, the more important it is for you to see your doctor.
Reprinted with permission of the Society of Interventional Radiology © 2004, www.SIRweb.org. All rights reserved.