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Ankle-Brachial (ABI)

An ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a simple, non-invasive test used to determine if you have Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). PAD is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. When you develop PAD, your extremities (usually your legs) don’t receive enough blood flow. This causes symptoms, most notably leg pain when walking. It is also likely to be a sign of a more widespread ¬†accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition may be reducing blood flow to your heart and brain, as well as your legs.

Indications:

  • Painful cramping in your hip, thigh or calf muscles after activity- walking/climbing stairs (claudication)
  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • Coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side
  • Sores on your toes, feet or legs that won’t heal
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity (a body mass index over 30)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Increasing age, especially after reaching 50 years of age
  • A family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease, or stroke

Risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity (a body mass index over 30)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Increasing age, especially after reaching 50 years of age
  • A family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease, or stroke

What is involved?

The technician will measure the systolic pressures at the lower and upper extremities while at rest. This can be performed while lying down or sitting if the patient has mobility impairments. The test will take approximately 30 minutes.