The Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) result is used to predict the severity of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). A slight drop in your ABI with exercise means that you probably have PAD. This drop may be important, because PAD can be linked to a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
Why It Is Done?
This test is done to screen for Peripheral Arterial Disease of the legs. It is also used to see how well a treatment is working (such as medical treatment, an exercise program, angioplasty, or surgery).
The ABI result can help diagnose Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). A lower ABI means you might have PAD. A slight drop in the ABI with exercise, even if you have a normal ABI at rest, means that you probably have PAD.
A normal resting Ankle-Brachial Index is 1.0 to 1.4. This means that your blood pressure at your ankle is the same or greater than the pressure at your arm, and suggests that you do not have significant narrowing or blockage of blood flow.1
An abnormal resting Ankle-Brachial Index is 0.9 or lower. If the ABI is 0.91 to 0.99, it is considered borderline abnormal.
What To Think About?
Undiagnosed arterial disease in the arms can cause inaccurate test results.
Blood pressure readings may not be accurate when the blood vessel being measured is hardened by calcium (calcified). Arteries may calcify more than usual if you have Diabetes or Kidney Problems (renal insufficiency).
A very abnormal ABI test result may require more testing to determine the location and severity of PAD that might be present.
Questions to Ask Our Doctor About Ankle-Brachial Index Tests:
- How high is my risk for peripheral artery disease (PAD)?
- Am I a good candidate for an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test?
- What happens next if the ABI indicates possible blockages in my legs?
- What types of follow-up should I expect if my ABI is abnormal?
- Does the abnormal ABI test mean I have PAD?
- What symptoms should I look for?
- Can I continue walking, running, biking, swimming, or whatever exercise I like to do?
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