The Ankle Brachial Index Test
The ankle-brachial index test is a quick, noninvasive way to check your risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Peripheral artery disease is a condition in which the arteries in your feet, ankles, legs or arms are narrowed or blocked. People with peripheral artery disease are at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, poor circulation and leg pain. The ankle-brachial index test compares your blood pressure measured at your ankle with your blood pressure measured at your arm. A low ankle-brachial index number can indicate narrowing or blockage of the arteries in your feet, legs, and ankles, increasing your risk of circulatory problems, and possibly causing heart disease or stroke.
Why It Is Done
This test is done to check for peripheral arterial disease of the legs. It is also used to see how well a treatment is working (such as medical treatment, an exercise program, angioplasty, or surgery).
This test might be done to check your risk of heart attack and stroke. The results can help you and your doctor make decisions about how to lower your risk.1
The ABI result can help diagnose peripheral arterial disease (PAD). A lower ABI means you might have PAD. A slight drop in the ABI with exercise, even if you have a normal ABI at rest, means that you probably have PAD.
A normal resting ankle-brachial index is 1.0 to 1.4. This means that your blood pressure at your ankle is the same or greater than the pressure at your arm, and suggests that you do not have significant narrowing or blockage of blood flow.2
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