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Pulse Volume Recordings

A pulse volume recording (PVR) study is a noninvasive vascular test in which blood pressure cuffs and a hand-held ultrasound device are used to obtain information about arterial blood flow in the arms and legs. This test is done to diagnose peripheral artery disease.

There are several types of PVRs, including:

  • Ankle Brachial Index (ABI)
  • Exercise Testing PVR
  • Thoracic Outlet Testing

How does it work?

  • The vascular test is performed by specially trained technologists and interpreted by a vascular medicine physician.
  • The patient will lie on a padded examining table during the test. He or she may walk on a treadmill for part of the test, depending on the type of test that has been ordered.
  • Several blood pressure cuffs are placed on various parts of the arms and legs, depending on the area being examined.
  • A small amount of water-soluble gel is applied to the skin over the area to be examined. The gel does not harm skin or stain clothes.
  • The blood pressure cuffs are inflated, while a small device called a transducer or Doppler is held in place on the skin’s surface until the blood flow information has been recorded.
  • The Doppler transmits sound waves through the tissues of the area being examined. These sound waves reflect off blood cells moving within the blood vessels, allowing the reading physician to calculate their speed. The sound waves are recorded and displayed on a computer screen.