The ankle brachial index (ABI) is a measurement to assess the blood flow in the lower extremities. ABI is the ratio of arterial blood pressures of the ankle over arms. ABI assesses the blood flow only at rest. Most of the symptoms of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) are mainly on exercise. Symptoms at rest happen very late in the disease progression and at that time it might be too late for intervention. Hence, we also perform ABI after exercise to reproduce the symptoms and see if there is reduction in the blood flow.
Doctors prefer the ankle brachial index to determine the level of blockages in the arteries. Post-exercise testing of ankle and brachial index, offers a means to characterize the functional impact of claudication symptoms.
How this is done:
During the test, the technician measures the patient’s blood pressure by using inflated cuffs. This is followed by measuring the blood pressure of two arteries in the ankle. It is done with cuffs and a Doppler ultrasound device which produces images by using sound waves which lets the technician to hear the patient’s pulse when the cuff is deflated.
After calculating ABI, the doctor will go over the results with you and direct further treatment and management plan depending on the results.
Are there any side-effects:
The ABI test practically has no side-effects. However, there may be slight discomfort when the blood pressure cuffs inflate.
Follow-up treatments or next steps:
If there is evidence of PAD, medications and lifestyle changes are required. Some of the lifestyle changes are:
- Quitting smoking
- Managing weight
- Exercising regularly
- Making dietary changes
- Following the medication guidelines strictly.
Contact our office:
Heart and Vascular clinic is readily equipped with the latest intervention techniques to diagnose and treat your heart-related issues. We are teamed with professionals who excel in exercise ankle-brachial index diagnosis. Please contact us at (302) 338-9444 for further discussion about our services.