During a peripheral arterial exam, the mobile technologist uses a variety of ultrasound imaging techniques to produce images of the arterial blood flow in the patient’s lower extremities. The peripheral arterial exam may include real-time ultrasound imaging, Doppler spectrum analysis, exercise testing, and segmental pressures. If exercise testing is included, a treadmill is needed for the patient to walk on to produce symptoms (typically leg pain due to reduced blood flow in the lower body).
The interpreting physician will use the data from the peripheral artery exam to look for peripheral arterial disease, including aortic, iliac, femoral and popliteal artery aneurysms. The Doppler imaging, which shows blood-flow velocity, can help identify blockages in the extremities. Peripheral arterial disease puts patients at higher risk for stroke and heart attack.
The length of the peripheral arterial exam will vary depending on whether exercise testing is included. If it is, the peripheral arterial exam takes about 2 hours.
Common indications for ordering a peripheral arterial exam include:
- Diabetes with Peripheral Circulatory Disorders
- Pain in Limb
- Localized Superficial Swelling
- Mass/lump in Extremity