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Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)

The ankle-brachial index (ABI) test is a quick, noninvasive way to check for peripheral artery disease (PAD).

The ankle-brachial index test compares the blood pressure measured at the ankle with the blood pressure measured at the arm. A low ankle-brachial index number can indicate narrowing or blockage of the arteries in the legs.

How does it work?

Typically, the patient lies on a table on his or her back, and a technician measures blood pressure in both arms and both ankles, using an inflatable cuff and a hand-held ultrasound device that’s pressed to the skin. The device uses sound waves to produce images and allows the pulse to be heard in the ankle arteries after the cuff is deflated.

Am I a good candidate for treatment?

Patients should consider ankle-brachial index testing if they have leg pain while walking or risk factors for PAD, such as:

  • History of tobacco use
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Restricted blood flow (atherosclerosis) in other parts of the body

What can I expect after treatment?

A Deborah physician will use the blood pressure measurements from both the arms and ankles to calculate ankle-brachial index.

Based on the number, the ABI may show:

  • No blockage (1.0 to 1.4)
  • Borderline blockage (0.91 to 0.99)
  • PAD (less than 0.90)

Depending on the severity of the blockage, the physician may recommend:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medication
  • Surgery to treat PAD

Terms & Conditions

By participating in this quiz, or screening or health assessment, I recognize and accept all risks associated with it. I understand that the program will only screen for certain risk factors and does not constitute a complete physical exam. For the diagnosis of a medical problem, I must see a physician for a complete medical exam. I release Deborah Heart and Lung Center and any other organization(s) involved in this screening, and their employees and agents, from all liabilities, medical claims or expenses which may arise from my participation. Thank you for investing in your health by participating today.