Your Legs and Arms
Your doctor will request an arterial study if he suspects a problem with blood flow to your arms or legs.
Signs & Symptoms
You have been experiencing discomfort while walking (referred to as claudication) or with other forms of exercise. It is reproducible each time you exercise. Your discomfort is usually relieved, simply by resting. Symptoms can be described as a pain, an ache, weakness, heaviness or a giving-out.
"Rest Pain": This is a dull continuous ache in your foot. Analgesics give poor relief. NOTE: If sensation or range of motion is lost the condition becomes an emergency requiring urgent care.
Ulcers or Gangrene: You may experience mild skin loss and discolouration of toes or foot, or more major problems with severe deep purple/black discolouration and/or open painful sores. Arterial ulcers are primarily located in the foot. Open ulcerations and black discoloured areas need immediate attention. at the site of a minor trauma. It is non-healing, painful and has minimal surrounding inflammation if due to arterial insufficiency.
An Arterial assessment is performed in two parts:
Blood Pressure Measurements - throughout the extremities at rest and/or post exercise (calf raises, walking and/or treadmill).
Duplex Ultrasound imaging
Blood Pressures and/or Exercise
The Technologist will apply a gel to the skin over the artery that is being examined to ensure a close contact with your skin. A Blood Pressure cuff will then be placed around your arms, thigh, calf and ankles to assess your blood pressure values at each site. The cuff is then inflated (just like when you have your blood pressure taken). The handheld device (transducer) is placed at a pulse site while the cuff is inflated. You will hear a 'swishing/pulsating' sound while the test is being performed. Once the sound disappears the cuff is slowly deflated, with the return of sound heard the blood pressure value is then recorded. This is repeated for each cuff. This may then be followed with exercise. Post exercise only the arms and ankle measurements are taken again.
Arterial Duplex Ultrasound
The Technologist will apply gel to your arms or legs depending on the test ordered. The gel ensures a close contact with your skin and allows the probe to glide over your skin while the Technologist performs the test. You will hear a 'swishing/pulsating' sound during the testing. The Technologist will watch images on the monitor and take 'pictures' when required. After the procedure the gel is wiped off with a cloth or towel.
There is no advance preparation. We suggest you wear loose clothing. You will be asked to remove your shoes, socks and pants (underwear (loose) and upper clothing will remain on
Your doctor may want you to have a venous test performed to determine if there is a clot in your veins, assess the origin of your varicose veins and/or test how well your venous valves are functioning.
Urgent Signs and Symptoms - Tests are done same day
pain/tenderness with associated swelling, redness and or edema
arise over a period of several hours - days
possible palpable hard cord over involved vein
ulceration (usually painless, located above ankles on side of leg)
Non Urgent Signs and Symptoms
skin discolouration of lower leg and ankle
redness and itching (cellulitis)
Duplex ultrasound imaging is performed along with some breathing exercises. The Technologist will apply a gel to the skin over the veins that are being examined to ensure a close contact with your skin. The Duplex ultrasound exam measures the blood flow and valve function in your veins, and determines if your veins are free of clot. You will hear a 'swishing' sound during the testing. The technologist will watch images on the monitor and take 'pictures' when required. You will be asked to do some deep breathing and the technologist will also squeeze your calf from time to time. After the procedure the gel is wiped off with a cloth or towel.
These tests are non-invasive and do not require the use of dye or needles.
There is no advance preparation. We suggest you wear loose clothing. You will be asked to remove your shoes, socks and pants. Underwear (loose) and upper clothing will remain on.
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