The ankle-brachial index (ABI) test is designed to be quick and noninvasive. The entire point of the procedure is to check your risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD). This disease is a terrible condition that involves the arteries of the legs and arms narrowing or becoming blocked entirely. If you’re suffering from peripheral artery disease, you may be at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, poor circulation, and leg pains. The test is designed to compare blood pressure measured from your ankle with that of your arm. The difference can help a physician calculate your risk.
Why it is Completed
If the arteries in your legs or arms have narrowed, there is very little indication this has occurred without the proper testing. In fact, the ankle-brachial test is the most thorough and well-designed test specifically for peripheral artery disease.
Upon turning 50, we highly recommend that you undergo testing, or if you have any of the following risk factors:
- Current or former smoker
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
If you are diagnosed with peripheral artery disease, your physician may suggest an exercise ankle-brachial index test to determine whether your current symptoms, including leg pain, are due to PAD. In some cases, the very same symptoms may indicate spinal stenosis.
What to Expect
The test is quite simple. You will begin by laying on a table, on your back. A technician will then measure the blood pressure of both your arms using an inflatable cuff, just like at a general physician. The very same technician will then gauge the blood in both ankles. Furthermore, the test is painless and similar to having your blood pressure taken at a routine visit. Although, you may feel a little pressure, but nothing serious.