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Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Screening

This screening checks for blockage in the legs, and whether treatment is needed. A PAD Scan is a Doppler type exam which can quickly determine if there is any impairment in the circulation to the limbs.


Symptoms of Peripheral Vascular Disease

As the internal lining of the artery thickens from the atherosclerotic plaque, the blood vessel becomes increasingly constricted and blood flow diminishes. Therefore, the symptoms you may experience depend on what artery is affected and how severely the blood flow is reduced.

 

For additional graphic detail see: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/18077.htm


Some of the symptoms you may experience in the affected areas are:
  • Dull, cramping pain in hips, thighs, or calf muscle
  • Buttock pain
  • Numbness or tingling in leg, foot, or toes
  • Changes in skin color (pale, bluish, or reddish discoloration)
  • Changes in skin temperature, coolness
  • Impotence
  • Infection/sores that do not heal
  • Ulceration or gangrene
  • Uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Renal failure

Risk Factors

Clinical studies have identified factors that increase the risk of peripheral vascular disease. Some of these factors cannot be changed while others can be managed to greatly reduce your risk of the disease. They are as follows:
  • Diabetes: PVD is not uncommon among those individuals with diabetes. This correlation is due to complications of the disease which may cause damage to the large and small blood vessels of the legs and feet.
  • Smoking: The risk of PVD dramatically increases in smokers. When a person stops smoking regardless of how much he or she may have smoked in the past, their risk of peripheral vascular disease rapidly declines
  • Any of the following risk factors may also increase your change of developing peripheral vascular disease:
    • Obesity
    • High blood pressure
    • A family history of the disease
    • Lack of exercise
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Age greater than 65
    • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)

Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects that you have peripheral vascular disease or if you have symptoms of the disease, several tests are performed to diagnose it. Such diagnostic tests include:
  • Ankle Brachial Index (ABI)
  • Ultrasound Doppler Test
  • Angiogram