Health Library

PAD may be suspected based on symptoms, such as intermittent claudication, and your medical history. Other signs of PAD, such as weak pulses in the lower extremities, may be found during a physical exam.

PAD is often confirmed with an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test. Blood pressure is measured in arteries at the elbow and ankle with a blood pressure cuff and doppler ultrasound. The pressures are compared in a ratio. If the ratio is lower than expected, it indicates a problem with blood flow in the legs. If you have an irregular ABI test, your doctor may recommend a treadmill test to assess your walking ability and distance.

Revision Information

  • CT angiography (CTA). Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angioct. Updated August 27, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.

  • Hills AJ, Shalhoub J, et al. Peripheral arterial disease. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2009;70(10):560-565.

  • How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pad/diagnosis.html. Updated June 2, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.

  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of lower extremities. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 13, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.

  • Symptoms and diagnosis of PAD. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/PeripheralArteryDisease/Symptoms-and-Diagnosis-of-PAD%5FUCM%5F301306%5FArticle.jsp. Updated August 16, 2012. Accessed June 23, 2014.