About Atherosclerosis and Peripheral Artery Disease
Atherosclerosis is a narrowing or blockage of your arteries -- vessels that bring blood to your major organ systems and your limbs. This narrowing is caused by a buildup of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances on the inner walls of your blood vessels, which prevents your blood from flowing normally. Often, atherosclerosis has no symptoms. It can lead to heart attack, stroke, and amputation.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is atherosclerosis in arteries in the legs. PAD may cause aching, pain, or numbness in the leg muscles when you walk or climb stairs. This is called claudication; it happens when the muscles that are performing the work don’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. A more severe manifestation of PAD is chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI). CLTI causes foot wounds or ulcers and leg pain.
Tests for Peripheral Artery Disease
Our specialists use advanced screening to identify PAD at every stage. All of these tests are simple and painless, and they usually take about 30 to 60 minutes.
Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)
An ABI helps doctors determine whether your legs are affected by PAD. The blood pressure in your ankle is measured and compared to the blood pressure in your arm. Meanwhile, an ultrasound device listens to and compares the flow of blood in both areas.
This test uses sound waves to measure the speed of blood flow in your arteries and veins. It also generates images that help determine where blood flow is restricted.
CT and MRI
Advanced CT and MRI imaging helps assess damage to your blood vessels. High-resolution images combined with angiography, which uses a contrast dye injected into your arm, can help doctors more clearly identify narrowed areas in your arteries.