In addition to your medical history and a complete physical exam, your health care team may perform other tests, order blood work or imaging tests or recommend procedures to look for any narrowing or blockages in your arteries. For example:
- Electrocardiogram – records the electrical activity of the heart. When hearts are having issues, the electrical signals may get changed or altered which may be an early warning sign.
- Ultrasound – a type of imaging test that uses sound waves to show how the heart is squeezing and how well the different heart valves are working.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan – can look for calcium and other deposits in the blood vessels (also called coronary artery calcium scoring or a coronary calcium scan) that can be an early sign of disease in the arteries.
- Stress test, also called an exercise stress test – shows how your heart works during physical activity
- Coronary angiogram or Heart Cath – A procedure where a doctor places a catheter (thin flexible tube) in the artery of your wrist or groin and uses X-ray to look at your heart’s arteries
to see if they are blocked or narrowed, where and by how much. This test uses a special dye, called contrast. It can help your care team determine if you might need treatment to open an artery.
- Ankle brachial index (ABI test) – a test to check the circulation or blood flow in your legs (this is to see if you may have a blockage in the blood vessels in your legs that might point to PAD); it involves taking blood pressure in your ankle and arms and comparing them