Sunday, July 21, 2024

What Is the Ankle Brachial Index?

The ankle brachial index, or ABI, is a test used to measure how well blood is flowing to your feet. The test is usually done on one leg at a time. To do the test, your doctor or other health care provider will put a blood pressure cuff on your upper arm and another around your ankle. They will then use a device called a Doppler to listen to the blood flow in your arteries. The test is painless and takes only a few minutes.

The ABI is used to diagnose peripheral artery disease (PAD), which occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your legs and feet. PAD can cause leg pain when walking (claudication) and can lead to serious problems such as ulcers, gangrene, and amputation. 

The ABI can also be used to check for PAD in people who have already been diagnosed with the condition.

Your doctor will compare the blood pressure in your upper arm with the blood pressure in your ankle. The ratio of these two numbers is called the ankle brachial index (ABI). A normal ABI is between 0.9 and 1.3. An ABI of less than 0.9 may mean you have PAD. 

If you have diabetes, an abnormal ABI may be an early sign of PAD before symptoms develop; therefore, it’s important to talk to your doctor about getting tested if you have diabetes and any risk factors for PAD such as smoking or high cholesterol levels

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