Ankle Brachial Index (ABI)

An ankle brachial index, or ABI, is performed to check for peripheral artery disease (PAD). Peripheral artery disease is a condition involving blockages in the arteries of the arms or legs. If left untreated, peripheral artery disease can cause leg pain, stroke, heart attack, or poor circulation.

No special preparations are necessary before undergoing an ankle brachial index. During the ankle brachial index test, you will lie down on a table, and a technician will measure your blood pressure in both arms. The technician will then measure your blood pressure in arteries in the left ankle and use a Doppler ultrasound to produce images of those arteries. An ankle brachial index usually only takes a few minutes and is painless.

Results are often available immediately after the ankle brachial index test; your doctor will discuss the results with you at this point. If peripheral artery disease has been detected, your doctor will develop a customized treatment plan to prevent your condition from worsening. Even if the results show no signs of peripheral artery disease, regular ankle brachial index testing may be required if you are at risk of developing the condition.

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