Screening for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Screening helps find and treat diseases earlier. Tests are given to people who don't have signs, but who may be at high risk for certain health problems. There are no tests for PAD. But your doctor will screen for problems that lead to vascular disease. These tests will be done at your routine checkups:

  • Blood pressure readings
  • Blood tests to check your cholesterol and blood sugar
  • Body weight checks, such as checking your body mass index (BMI) and waist size
  • Asking about your habits, such as eating, smoking, and exercise

If you are at high risk, your doctor may want to do:

  • Visual exam —Your doctor should look at the skin of all of your limbs during check-ups. Changes in skin texture and color, sores, or nonhealing wounds may be a sign of PAD.
  • Pulses —Your doctor can listen and feel for pulses in your feet and groin. Unusual sounds in the arteries and weak pulses are signs of PAD.
  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI) —Your doctor takes pressures in both arms and ankles using a blood pressure cuff and an ultrasound. The readings are used to find out your ABI. A value less than or equal to 0.9 is a sign of PAD.


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of lower extremities. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated August 23, 2018. Accessed August 29, 2018.
Prevention and treatment of PAD. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated October 31, 2016. Accessed August 30, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 8/29/2018

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