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by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Diagnosis of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Your doctor may think you have PAD because of your symptoms and your health history. Other signs, such as a weak pulse in your legs, may be found during an exam.
PAD is often confirmed with an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test. Blood pressure is measured in arteries at the elbow and ankle. This is done with a blood pressure cuff and ultrasound. The readings are compared in a ratio. If the ratio is lower than it should be, it is a sign of a problem with blood flow in the legs. If you have an irregular ABI test, your doctor may order a treadmill test to check your ability to walk.


CT angiography (CTA). Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angioct. Updated April 1, 2017. Accessed August 29, 2018.
Hills AJ, Shalhoub J, et al. Peripheral arterial disease. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2009;70(10):560-565.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of lower extremities. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114200/Peripheral-arterial-disease-PAD-of-lower-extremities . Updated August 23, 2018. Accessed August 29, 2018.
Symptoms and diagnosis of PAD. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/PeripheralArteryDisease/Symptoms-and-Diagnosis-of-PAD%5FUCM%5F301306%5FArticle.jsp. Updated October 31, 2016. Accessed August 29, 2018.

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