What is the role of pressure readings in the evaluation of peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD)?

Updated: Mar 08, 2021
  • Author: Josefina A Dominguez, MD; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
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Pressure measurements can be performed to gain objective data on the circulatory status. An accurate pressure reading is obtained as follows:

  • Place the pneumatic cuff around the ankle
  • Position the Doppler probe over the dorsalis pedis or the posterior tibial artery
  • Inflate the cuff to a reading above the systolic pressure and deflate; the systolic tone at the ankle vessel is the pressure recorded

A healthy person has no pressure drop from the heart to the ankle. In fact, the pressure at the ankle may be 10-20 mm Hg higher because of the augmentation of the pressure wave with travel distally. In a patient with claudication, however, the measured pressure at the ankle will be diminished to some extent, depending on the severity of PAOD.

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