Segmental Arterial Pressures

What is a Segmental Arterial Pressure Study and what does it do?

People who have leg pain when exercising may need an evaluation to make sure they have normal blood flow through their leg arteries. Normally blood pressure is similar whether it is measured in the legs or in the arms. If blood pressure is lower in the legs, it usually means that cholesterol buildup inside the leg arteries is interfering with circulation. By taking accurate blood pressure measurements at different locations along your legs, your doctors can determine if you have any arterial narrowing and, if so, where.

Blood pressure cuffs will be placed at different points along the limb and inflated. A transducer will be used to create waveforms and measure the pressure in various places along your leg or arm to assure that you have adequate blood flow in the artery.

Who performs the test?

The test is performed by a licensed Respiratory Therapist.

Where does it take place?

At Jackson Hospital in the Respiratory Department.

How long does it take?

About 30 minutes.

What can I do to make it a success?

  • Please be sure to bring your doctor’s orders with you the day of your test. Allow 15 minutes to register.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that can be removed easily (we must be able to place blood pressure cuffs on your arms and legs).
  • Please do not use lotions or oils on the legs and arms prior to the test.

What should I do before the exam?

  • There are no special dietary restrictions for this study.
  • You should not smoke or participate in strenuous activities for 24 hours before the test.
  • You should take any medications as you normally would.

What happens during the exam?

  • You will be asked to remove your pants, socks and shoes and put on a hospital gown.
  • You will be lying flat during the test. The technologist will place pressurized cuffs (similar to blood pressure cuffs) on your legs and arms which will be hooked up to a machine called a pulse volume recorder.
  • The cuffs are inflated and continuously monitor your arteries as the blood pulses through them. The recording machine converts these measurements into a waveform (a continuous line of peaks and valleys) that represents the movement of blood through your arteries.

What should I do after the exam?

You may resume normal activity after your study. Your test will be reviewed and interpreted by a physician. Your physician should have the results of your study in 24-48 hours.

Contact Information:

Hospital (main operator): (850) 526-2200
Cardiology Department: (850) 718-2559

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