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Peripheral arterial disease: the evolving role of non-invasive imaging
  1. A R Owen1,
  2. G H Roditi2
  1. 1Barwon Medical Imaging, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrew Owen, Barwon Medical Imaging, Geelong Hospital, Ryrie Street, Geelong, Victoria 3226, Australia; andrewowen{at}


Peripheral arterial disease is usually secondary to stenotic or occlusive atherosclerosis and is both common and increasing in western society. The majority of symptomatic patients have intermittent claudication and only a minority (<2% and typically those with diabetes mellitus or renal failure) progress to critical limb ischaemia, heralded by the onset of rest pain and/or tissue loss. Imaging is largely reserved for patients with disabling symptoms in whom revascularisation is planned. In these patients, accurate depiction of the vascular anatomy is critical for clinical decision making as the distribution and severity of disease are key factors determining whether revascularisation should be by endovascular techniques or open surgery. Driven by advances in technology, non-invasive vascular imaging has recently undergone significant refinement and has replaced conventional digital subtraction angiography for many clinical indications. In this review, the relative merits and limitations of duplex ultrasound, CT angiography, and magnetic resonance angiography are discussed, emerging imaging techniques are described, and complications relating to the use of intravascular contrast agents are highlighted.

  • Cardiovascular imaging
  • interventional radiology
  • vascular medicine
  • vascular surgery

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  • Competing interests None declared

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.