Say, "Hey, Doctor, Please measure the blood flow in my legs."
Tests to Diagnose Peripheral Artery Disease (P.A.D.)
Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) Test
It compares the blood flow in the legs to that in the arms using multiple blood pressure cuffs strategically placed on the arms and legs.
NOTE: An ABI Test can give a FALSE normal result if:
1. You have diabetes.
2. Heavy calcification in your arteries.
If you have diabetes and/or are experiencing pain or cramping in your calf region.
If you have a normal result and you still have leg pain/cramping:
Say, "Hey Doctor, please order me a Duplex Ultrasound to make sure I don't have heavy calcification giving us a false normal result."
A duplex ultrasound uses sound waves to create a color map of your arteries. It can indicate a narrowing in your arteries that may be causing you leg pain, leg cramps when walking, neuropathy, and/or rest pain.
Normal test results indicate that you have no narrowing or blockages in your arteries.
Abnormal blood flow patterns, including narrowing or closing of the arteries, can indicate a blockage in the arteries.
Depending on the result, a doctor may recommend lifestyle modifications to improve blood flow natural, a CT scan, and/or a minimally-invasive exam called an angiogram.
CT Scan/CT Angiogram (CTA)
This gives doctors a better look inside your vessels under xray. Ask your doctor if he/she has a 256 Slice CT Scan. This may include an injection of contrast fluid into your vessels
The 256-slice CT scanner takes only one second to scan the entire heart providing more information with each rotation -- compared to four rotations with a 64-slice CT scanner, or 16 rotations with a 16-slice CT scanner.
This scanner offers considerable advantages to our patients as it allows scans to be completed in a shorter time. At Advanced Imaging, we care about producing high quality CT images at low radiation dose to the patient
When your doctors confirm you have a blockage that likely needs treated, this procedure, which involves light to heavy sedation, is performed under xray, where doctors use an access port, called an introducer, to insert contrast fluid to highlight your arteries & veins. During the procedure, they may insert wires, catheters, balloons, and atherectomy (plaque removal) devices to restore blood flow.
Note: If a doctor offers an Angiogram before performing a Duplex Ultrasound - RED FLAG!
If a doctor can't assess where the blockage is using a Duplex Ultrasound and/or CT Scan and provide possible treatment plans prior to an Angiogram - RED FLAG!
Angiogram should only be performed once you and your doctor discuss therapy (treatment) options such as balloon angioplasty, atherectomy (removal of plaque), thrombectomy (removal of blood clots), stenting, etc.
Choosing the right doctor to perform an angiogram is critical. Different doctors have different tools and techniques. Always get a second opinion prior to any procedure.
If a physician offers to perform an endarterectomy, bypass, or amputation prior to a proper angiogram, RED FLAG!
Never get a bypass or amputation without a proper angiogram from an advanced skilled endovascular specialist, known as a "CLI Fighter." A vascular specialist cannot be 100% certain a blockage can't be traversed based on an ABI, ultrasound, or CT Angiogram alone.
For more on finding the right doctor, click here.
How to get tested for P.A.D. on your own
How to get tested for C.A.D.
Sometimes knowing or remembering what questions to ask your Doctor can seem daunting in an already nerve-wracking moment. We've done the hard work for you and have made some downloadable/printable questions you can bring with you to your next appointment! We do suggest you read or skim over the questions so you're more familiar with them and will be more comfortable when asking.
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