Pulse Volume Recordings (PVR)

What are pulse volume recordings (PVR)?

A PVR study is noninvasive vascular test in which blood pressure cuff and a transducer are used to obtain information about arterial blood flow in the arms and legs. The blood pressure cuffs are used to determine the presence, severity and general location of peripheral arterial occlusive disease.

Why is this test performed?

This test is performed to evaluate the blood flow in your arms and legs, in order to diagnose peripheral arterial disease.

How is this test performed?

Ankle Brachial Index (ABI)
The ABI is a measurement of the blood pressure in the lower leg compared to the blood pressure in the arm. The two numbers are compared to determine your ABI. Normally, the blood pressures in your ankle and arm should be about equal, but if your ankle pressure is half (or lower) of your arm pressure, it could be a sign that your leg arteries are narrowed. The blood pressure cuffs are placed on the arm and leg and inflated, while the transducer is used to listen to the blood flow in the leg and arm. The ABI helps your physician diagnose arterial disease in the legs, but does not identify which arteries are blocked.
Exercise Testing PVR
During the exercise testing PVR, the patient walks on a treadmill to reproduce the symptoms her or she has experienced. The blood pressure cuffs are placed on the patient’s arms, legs, thighs, ankles, calves, and feet. The blood pressures are measured again to determine the location of the potential blockage or narrowed area.

How do I prepare for this test?

You may take your usual medications and there are no special dietary guidelines. If you are a smoker, you must refrain from smoking for 30 minutes prior to the test. The test will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Are there risks associated with PVR?

There are no risks associated with this test. Noninvasive vascular testing does not use radiation.