Peripheral vascular disease evaluation is the process of identifying peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which is a slow and progressive circulation disorder. Narrowing, blockage, or spasms in a blood vessel can cause PVD. Peripheral vascular disease is also known as peripheral artery disease (PAD).
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What is peripheral vascular disease?
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a slow and progressive circulation disorder, typically caused by atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque inside the artery wall. The plaque reduces the amount of blood flow to the limbs and decreases the oxygen and nutrients available to the tissue. PVD may affect any blood vessel outside of the heart including the arteries, veins, or lymphatic vessels. Organs supplied by these vessels, such as the brain, and legs, may not get enough blood flow for proper function. However, the legs and feet are most commonly affected. People with coronary artery disease (CAD) often also have PVD.
Peripheral vascular disease can result in potentially serious complications. These complications may include amputation, poor wound healing, restricted mobility due to pain or discomfort, severe pain in the affected extremity or even stroke.
How is peripheral vascular disease identified?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, we may perform other tests to diagnose peripheral vascular disease, including:
- Peripheral angiogram. This is a test that uses X-rays and contrast dye to help your doctor find narrowed or blocked areas in one or more of the arteries that supply blood to your legs. If there is narrowing of artery can be treated in the same setting or different setting with balloon angioplasty.
- Peripheral venograph. This is an invasive diagnostic test used to provide images of the veins in the legs. A contrast dye will be injected into a vein, often in the patient’s foot. X-ray pictures are taken of the veins to determine if there are any DVT’s or abnormalities.
- Vascular ultrasound flow studies. A vascular ultrasound is a noninvasive ultrasound method (also called a duplex study) used to examine the circulation in the blood vessels of the body. This uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Faintness or absence of sound may mean blood flow is blocked.
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or magnetic resonance venography (MRV). This noninvasive test uses a combination of a large magnet, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures in the body. Your doctor injects a special dye during the procedure so that blood vessels are more visible.
- Stress test. Sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, a stress test helps us find out how well your heart handles its workload. You will walk on a treadmill so we can monitor blood circulation during exercise.