Diagnosing Peripheral Arterial Disease
A lower extremity arterial (LEA) evaluation is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that compares the blood pressure in a patient's legs to the blood pressure in his or her arms. This procedure is sometimes referred to as an ankle-brachial index (ABI). A lower blood pressure in the leg could be a symptom of peripheral arterial occlusive (peripheral vascular) disease. The test evaluates the presence, severity and general location of this disease.
The lower extremity arterial evaluation
It will take 30 to 40 minutes to perform the LEA exam. The vascular sonographer will place blood pressure cuffs on your legs and arms at the appropriate levels. Doppler signals will be obtained from the arteries in your legs by holding a small probe against your skin. This is a painless procedure. Your blood pressures will be taken in your arms and legs at the appropriate levels. You may be asked to perform some exercise, such as walking on a treadmill. Your blood pressures will again be taken after you exercise. After the procedure, you will be permitted to get dressed and leave without any restrictions.
The sonographer will not provide you with any results at the time of the examination. A trained cardiologist will interpret the study and provide your family physician with a written report. Your primary care physician (or the provider who ordered the study) will follow up with you.