Is there a test to check for blocked arteries?

There are several diagnostic methods and tools for checking the health or arteries and other blood vessels in the human body. Many of them are not limited to vascular diseases but are used to diagnose cardiovascular issues in general.

Let us look at those that are more vascular disease-oriented. It should be noted that, aside from how they work, there are significant differences between them. the most pertinent of which, for the patient at least, is their invasive or non-invasive natures. Some (non-invasive) can be conducted very fast in a general healthcare facility or even at a pharmacy, such as the ABI test for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). Others (invasive) require physical entry in the human body and can be done only in specialised laboratories.

Overview of diagnostic methods

  • Oscillometric method (MESI mTABLET ABI). The patient is placed in a supine position and the examiner places three inflatable cuffs on both arms and one leg. The MESI mTABLET ABI device then automatically takes measurements and calculates the ABI. This entire procedure takes only 1 minute, does not require any special preparation and can be conducted by virtually any healthcare professional. As such it is increasingly used by primary care physicians for preventive PAD screening of patients in general practice.
  • Doppler method. This is usually conducted at specialised healthcare facilities, often after carrying out the oscillometric check first for convenience. The patient is placed in a supine position while the examiner measures blood pressure on both arms and legs using a blood pressure meter and a Doppler probe (a device that utilises ultrasound to detect the flow of blood through blood vessels). After all data is gathered, the examiner manually calculates the ABI. An entire examination may take up to 30 min and requires a specially trained examiner.

The ABI is the best way of detecting PAD and indirectly of CVD risk, and with the proliferation of diagnostic devices, such as the MESI mTABLET ABI in healthcare facilities worldwide, more and more people have a chance to check their cardiovascular health. Only proper and timely diagnosis can lead to effective preventive treatment and avert or at least mitigate serious issues.