The reactive hyperemia test is an alternative to the baseline, ABI or treadmill test. If you are unable to walk on a treadmill due to heart problems or shortness of breath, the reactive hyperemia test can be performed to diagnose PAD.
How is the exam given?
You will be asked to lie on your back while standard blood pressure cuffs are placed around your thighs and ankles. The thigh cuffs will be inflated above your normal systolic blood pressure for three to five minutes. Once the thigh cuffs are deflated, the ankle cuffs are inflated briefly above your systolic blood pressure, then slowly deflated. Using the Doppler instrument, blood pressure measurements are immediately taken at both your ankles.
What will the results mean?
A significant (50% or greater) decrease in ankle blood pressure indicates there is a blockage in your leg arteries and thus is a diagnosis of PAD.