The ankle-brachial index test is a quick, non-invasive way to check your risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
The ankle-brachial index test compares the blood pressure measured at your ankle with the blood pressure measured at your arm. A low ankle-brachial index number can indicate narrowing or blockage of the arteries in your legs, leading to circulatory problems, heart disease or stroke. Identifying this condition is the first step in providing a treatment plan.
Who should be Tested
Anyone over the age of 50 who have had a history of diabetes or smoking
Anyone over the age of 65
Missing pulses or poor circulation
Injury to legs or extremity
Exertional cramping or fatigue in extremity relieved by rest
Gangrenous black skin tissue
Toes or feet that have become pale, discolored or bluish
General information about exam
How long does the test take?
This exam usually takes about 30 minutes, depending on many variables. After the test, you may go home or go to your other scheduled appointments.
Can I eat or drink on the day of the test?
Yes. Eat and drink as you normally would the day of the test (unless you are also scheduled that day for an ultrasound exam that requires fasting).
Should I take my medications the day of the test?
Take all of your medications at the usual times, as prescribed by your doctor.
What happens during the test?
A vascular sonographer will perform the test. The sonographer will ask you to remove your socks and shoes and to lie on your back on an exam table. Blood pressure cuffs will be placed around your ankles. The sonographer will obtain blood pressure measurements at both ankles and also on both arms. Depending on the type of ABI test requested by your physician, you may be asked to walk on a treadmill for 5 minutes or do another modified exercise. Blood pressure measurements will be retaken immediately after exercise. In some circumstances, the sonographer may also take blood pressure measurements on your toes.