The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a simple, rapid, non-radiological, non-invasive and highly valuable test that can be easily performed in the clinic to analyse your risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
What is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)?
PAD is a serious condition where the arteries of the legs (lower extremities) are narrowed or blocked due to build-up of cholesterol in the arterial walls resulting in poor circulation, (i.e. restriction of flow of oxygen-rich blood). People with PAD are at increased risk of heart attack and stroke and both cardiovascular and overall mortality. This condition may occur in about 4% in the healthy adult population over the age of
40 years old to as high as 30% in patients in patients who
undergo screening in a primary care setting with diabetes,
cigarette smoking and age as risk factors.
How is ABI obtained?
ABI is derived from ratio of measuring and comparing the systolic blood pressure of the lower extremities (leg) at the ankle region to the systolic blood pressure at the upper arm (brachial region). The severity of peripheral arterial disease can therefore be determined by using this ratio also called the index number. The lower the index, the more severe the condition. Of special important is a ABI index of < 0.9 – this indicates lower blood pressure at the ankle compared to the arm and implies that there is narrowing or blockage of the arteries in the legs. The full interpretation of ABI is outlined below :
|Ankle Brachial Index Number|
|1.0 to 1.4||=||normal (because the pressure between the lower extremities (leg) and arm|
should be almost the same or a little higher in the lower extremities).
|0.99 to 0.91||=||borderline; considered for additional cardiovascular risk testing|
|≤0.9 to 0.8||=||mild PAD|
|≤0.8 to 0.5||=||moderate PAD|
|>1.4||=||rigid or hardened artery which are not compressible|
NARROWED LEG ARTERY
FIBROUS PLAQUE FORMATION