Pulse Volume Recording – PVR Test | MedStar Health

A noninvasive test to evaluate blood flow in the arms and legs

Pulse volume recording (PVR) uses a blood pressure cuff and hand-held Doppler ultrasound device to determine the presence and severity of peripheral artery disease (PAD). The Doppler ultrasound records sound waves that bounce off moving objects, such as blood, to measure speed and flow.

PVR differs from an arterial duplex ultrasound in that it also includes blood pressure recordings.

Your doctor may recommend one or more types of PVRs, each of which takes 30 to 60 minutes:

  • Ankle brachial index (ABI): This test compares the blood pressure in your arm with the pressure in your lower leg. Blood pressure cuffs are placed on your arms and ankles while your doctor uses the Doppler to listen to blood flow. Blood pressures in your arm and ankle normally are equal, but a pressure in your ankle that is less than that of your arm could indicate a problem with the arteries in your leg.
  • Exercise testing PVR: During this test, you will walk on a treadmill until symptoms appear, at which point blood pressure cuffs will be placed on your arms, thighs, calves, ankles, and feet. While you walk, your blood pressure will be recorded in each limb to help your doctor determine the location of a blocked or narrow vessel.
  • Thoracic outlet testing: During this test, you’ll sit in a chair with blood pressure cuffs on your upper arms. Your blood pressure will be recorded as we change the position of your arms.


Limb Salvage

Limb salvage is a form of treatment our vascular surgeons use as an alternative to amputation for patients with severe peripheral artery disease, or PAD.

Peripheral Artery Disease Treatments

Peripheral artery disease treatments may include lifestyle changes, medication, and minimally invasive and surgical procedures to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.


Stenting uses a mesh tube to open narrow blood vessels and improve blood flow.

Transradial Catheterization

Transradial catheterization is a form of cardiac catheterization in which doctors use the radial artery, located in the wrist, to treat many heart and vascular conditions.

Vascular Disease Treatments

Vascular disease treatments address conditions that affect the blood vessels, which can cause blood flow to become decreased, interrupted, or slowed.

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