How is an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test performed in the workup of peripheral vascular disease (PVD)?

Updated: Dec 31, 2017
  • Author: Everett Stephens, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Answer

The ABI is obtained by applying blood pressure cuffs to the calf and the upper arm. The blood pressure is measured, and the systolic ankle pressure is divided by the systolic brachial pressure. Normal ABI is higher than 1; a value less than 0.95 is considered abnormal. This test can be influenced by arteriosclerosis and small-vessel disease (eg, diabetes), which reduce its reliability. Progressive peripheral arterial disease (PAD), indicated by an ABI decline of more than 0.15, has been associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk. [15]


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