Peripheral Arterial Disease Screening
Often, peripheral arterial disease shows no symptoms, while slowly, deposits of fat are taking up space in your arteries. This makes it difficult for your limbs, your heart and even your brain to receive the appropriate amount of blood to function properly. At Providence, we offer tools and screening methods to help combat vascular conditions before they begin.
A peripheral arterial disease screening is a test that uses an ankle-brachial index (ABI) to measure the amount of blood flow at the ankle level. The screening checks for any blockages that may have developed in the arteries of your legs.
These blockages, caused by atherosclerosis, reduce blood flow to the legs, causing pain, numbing, and weakness. If gone untreated, atherosclerosis can lead to further heart and vascular complications.
During the painless and noninvasive screening, your nurse technician will have you lie on a table and ask you to remove your shoes and socks. Pressure cuffs, like the ones used in an average blood pressure check, will be placed around your ankles and your arms.
As the pressure cuffs expand, your caregiver will use as small Doppler device to listen to your arteries at your limbs. Your technician will use the device to determine your ankle-brachial index by comparing the blood pressure at your ankles to the pressure at your brachium (upper arm).
The pressure between the two should be fairly similar. Large differences in pressure between the ankle and the brachium are indicators of potential arterial disease.
Peripheral arterial disease screenings are safe, noninvasive procedures. While there are no risks involved in receiving a precautionary screening, failure to do so can be life threatening.
More often than not, symptoms of claudication (leg pain and cramping due to arterial disease) and atherosclerosis do not manifest within the body until it’s too late. The goal of the screening is to detect any sign of possible arterial disease before symptoms begin, when they are at their most treatable.