Peripheral artery disease is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries of your arms and legs. This plaque reduces the amount of blood that can flow to your extremities. If left undiagnosed and untreated it could result in the need to remove the affected limb(s) or even death. If your primary care physician suspects you may have this problem they will have you visit a peripheral arterial disease lab to have the tests done to diagnose the problem so they can come up with a treatment plan to ensure you keep your limbs by allowing more blood to flow freely where it needs to go. Here are some of the non-invasive tests that may be done for the diagnosis.
Ankle Brachial Index
This test is done by placing a blood pressure cuff around both your ankle and your arm at the same time. The doctor uses this to find out how much the blood pressure drops as it travels through your legs. It is done to determine if there is any blockage. If the difference in the blood pressure indicates a blockage, the doctor will then proceed with the following tests to find it and figure out what needs to be done to take care of it.
Extremity Arterial Mapping
Using ultrasound technology, extremity arterial mapping allows the doctors to see just how the blood is flowing in your arms and legs. They will create a video of the test so they can study it further. This is done not only for a diagnosis but also to determine which vessels have limited blood flow and require a graft to open them back up. The grafting process will require surgery but you will discuss all of this with the doctor once they have determined the best course of action.
Venous Duplex Ultrasound
This procedure takes things a step further than arterial mapping. Venous duplex ultrasound uses regular ultrasound with a doppler device to allow the doctor to not only see the blood flow but to also see the condition of the blood vessels. They will be able to see how restricted each vessel is and if there is any damage to the vessel. In addition, they will be able to measure the diameter of the vessels so they will know what size is needed for any grafts.
Any cardiovascular disease is serious and can be life-threatening. A visit to a peripheral arterial disease lab is something you should not take lightly. You will find that the testing is not painful or invasive. However, the results of these tests could lead to treatments that will save your life.
To learn more, contact a company like Desert Cardiovascular Consultants.