• Diagnosing Peripheral Artery Disease: Follow the PAD Flowchart


    You can view and print a copy (PDF version) of the SecondsCount Diagnosing PAD flow chart here.

    If you have mild peripheral artery disease (PAD), your healthcare provider may provide treatments to help you manage the disease. But if your symptoms and other evaluations indicate that you have advanced PAD or your condition is growing more severe, your healthcare provider may refer you to a cardiologist or other vascular specialist for more testing and treatment.

    Your doctor may also recommend one or more of the following tests to more precisely assess the location and severity of any blockages and to gather the detailed information needed to develop an effective treatment plan:

    PVR Segmental Pressures

    Blood pressure cuffs on your arms, thighs, calves, ankles, feet and toes are inflated and deflated separately to allow your doctor to pinpoint the location and severity of the artery blockage when you are at rest.

    Stress Treadmill Test

    This test finds the level of activity at which you feel leg pain or cramping.

    Duplex Ultrasound Test

    An ultrasound test allows your physician to see blockages or narrowing in your blood vessels and determine the size of your kidneys. Learn more about Duplex Ultrasound Testing here.

    Computerized Tomographic Arteriography (CTA)

    This test, also called CTA or CT Angiography, uses x-rays and computers to create detailed images of the arteries vessels and the blood flow within them. Learn more about CTA tests here.

    Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)

    This test uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce two- or three-dimensional images of the arteries. Read about MRA and MRI here


    This diagnostic procedure provides detailed pictures of your heart and its blood vessels. It is performed by a specially trained cardiologist, called an interventional cardiologist. You can learn more about angiography here.

    All of these tests can give your physician important insights into your heart and arteries, and determine if treatment is necessary. Most of the tests for PAD are similar to those for coronary artery disease. That’s because both diseases stem from the same problem—narrowed and blocked arteries that interfere with the flow of blood throughout the body. 

    The earlier PAD is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. Early treatment can help to prevent disabling pain in the legs and feet, loss of limbs or amputation due to infection, as well as heart attack and stroke.