Tests & Diagnosis

Learn about common tests to diagnose heart and blood vessel disease, including how they are used, which tests you should have, and how well they work in women.

PAD Diagnosis Overview

All women with symptoms of PAD in the legs should have an examination and tests to diagnose PAD. The earlier you are diagnosed, the better your chances of avoiding serious complications of PAD including amputation, heart attack, and stroke.

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Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) Test

An ABI test is a simple, reliable test for diagnosing PAD in the legs. The test measures the blood pressure in your ankles and compares it to that in your arms. If the blood pressure is lower in your legs than in your arms, it may indicate that PAD is restricting blood flow in your legs.

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Ultrasound for PVD

Ultrasound is a diagnostic test that uses reflected sound waves—like those used to see the fetus during pregnancy—to create detailed images of the inside of the body, including the arteries and veins.

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Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is considered the “gold standard” test for diagnosing coronary artery disease. The test uses a long, thin tube inserted into an artery in your groin and guided up to your heart to detect blockages that can cause a heart attack.

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