Peripheral vascular disease - Doppler; PVD - Doppler; PAD - Doppler; Blockage of leg arteries - Doppler; Intermittent claudication - Doppler; Arterial insufficiency of the legs - Doppler; Leg pain and cramping - Doppler; Calf pain - Doppler
This test uses ultrasound to look at the blood flow in the large arteries and veins in the arms and legs.
The test is done in the ultrasound or radiology department or in a peripheral vascular lab.
During the exam:
You will need to remove clothes from the arm or leg being examined.
Sometimes the person performing the test will need to press on the vein to make sure it does not have a clot. Some people may feel slight pain.
The test may also be used to:
A normal result means the blood vessels show no signs of narrowing, clots, or closure, and the arteries have normal blood flow.
Abnormal results may be due to:
This test may also be done to help assess the following conditions:
There are no risks from this procedure.
Cigarette smoking may alter the results of this test. Nicotine can cause the arteries in the extremities to constrict.
Quitting smoking lowers the risk of problems with the heart and circulatory system. Most smoking-related deaths are caused by cardiovascular problems, not lung cancer.
Cosgrove DO, Eckersley RJ, Harvey CJ, Lim A. Ultrasound. In: Adam A, Dixon AK, Gillard JH, Schaefer-Prokop CM, eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 6th ed. New York, NY: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2015:chap 3.
Creager MA, Libby P. Peripheral artery diseases. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 58.
Rooke TW, Hirsch AT, Misra S, et al. Management of patients with peripheral artery disease (compilation of 2005 and 2011 ACCF/AHA Guideline Recommendations): a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;61(14):1555-1570. PMID: 23473760
Last reviewed on: 4/2/2015
Reviewed by: Jason Levy, MD, Northside Radiology Associates, Atlanta, GA. Internal review and update on 07/24/2016 by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.