Using high-frequency sound technology to find blocked arteries
The peripheral arteries are the large blood vessels in the arms and legs that channel oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to other areas of the body. A peripheral arterial ultrasound may be needed to examine how well and quickly blood is flowing through the arteries and to see if there are blockages that prevent normal blood flow.
Your doctor may order a peripheral arterial ultrasound if you have symptoms such as pain, swelling or redness (particularly in the legs), or if you have sores that don’t heal or cold feet or toes. Any of these symptoms may indicate a condition such as deep vein thrombosis or peripheral arterial disease.
Peripheral arterial testing helps determine appropriate treatment
A technician trained in diagnosing peripheral arterial disease and other vascular disorders will perform the ultrasound using a transducer (plastic wand) and conductive gel to glide over the arterial areas of your legs and check for abnormalities. The test is painless and usually takes 30 to 60 minutes, depending on whether you are having one or both legs examined.
The results of your ultrasound will be provided to your doctor who will then review the information and advise you on treatment options. These may include a combination of medication as well as traditional surgical or minimally invasive procedures, such as stenting or angioplasty.