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Peripheral Arterial Testing

A peripheral artery screening uses basic ultrasound technology and blood pressure screenings to detect how well blood is flowing through the extremities. The ultrasound and blood pressure screenings help detect any blockages that may be restricting blood flow outside your heart. During the ultrasound, a small sensor is used to bounce sound waves off your arteries, then a computer transforms these sound waves into pictures that are recorded and studied by a vascular surgeon. Blood pressure screenings are used to measure the rate of blood flow through different extremities and may be performed in various parts of your body.

What to expect during this test or treatment

  • You may be asked to remove some articles of clothing and change into a gown.
  • You will lie on your back while a technologist places a sensor on several areas of your legs and arms. The sensor will have a small amount of cool gel on the end. The gel will not harm your skin.
  • Blood pressure screenings may be performed on various parts of body, including your legs, fingers and toes.
  • The only discomfort you may feel from the ultrasound is the coolness from the gel or a slight pressure from the sensor as it moves along your extremities. You may feel somewhat more discomfort from the tightness and restriction of the blood pressure screenings.
  • You may hear swooshing sounds during the ultrasound as the sound waves are detected.
  • Sometimes a stress test may be required during your screening. Small electrodes may be placed on your chest to monitor your heart, and you will be asked to run or walk for a short period of time on a treadmill. The ultrasound and blood pressure screenings will be performed again after your time on the treadmill. The stress test will help detect any changes in blood flow resulting from exercise or activity.

What to expect after this test or treatment

  • If your scan results are normal you may resume your regular activities immediately following the scan.
  • A vascular surgeon will use your scan to assess any blockages or abnormalities in your aorta.
  • Results from your scan will be prepared by the vascular surgeon and a report will be mailed to your primary care physician.

Returning home
If you have any questions about your care after you return home, call your physician’s office.

This test or treatment is offered at:

Want to know more about this condition?
Read more about peripheral arterial disease in our Health Information Center.

To find a physician visit our Find a Doc or call (502) 629-1234 for a physician referral.

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