When your doctor recommends an ABI test or ankle-brachial index test, it may indicate that you are at risk for peripheral arterial disease. Peripheral artery disease, also called PAD, occurs when plaque occurs in the arteries of the arms and legs, which causes blood flow to the lower extremities to be impaired. The ABI test compares the circulation, blood flow, and blood pressure of the arms and ankles.
The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a non-invasive diagnostic test comparing blood pressure in the upper and lower extremities to determine if peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is present. In addition, the ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a factor in predicting the severity of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
Cardiology Associates of South Florida may also recommend that an ultrasound of the carotid arteries and or abdomen be required for more information.
You don’t need to do anything special before the test. While lying on your back, a test technician will place inflatable cuffs on your arm and leg to check blood pressure, while an ultrasound device assesses blood flow. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images that allow the technician to determine the volume of blood flow. The test takes about an hour.
The ABI can also predict how severe a person’s atherosclerosis is and the risk of future leg problems (such as developing future leg pain, poor foot wound healing, need for bypass surgery, leg amputation, or amputation).