Ankle Brachial Index

What is an Ankle Brachial Index Testing?

The ankle-brachial index test is a quick, noninvasive way to check your risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Peripheral artery disease is a condition in which the arteries in your legs or arms are narrowed or blocked. People with peripheral artery disease are at a high risk of heart attack, stroke, poor circulation and leg pain.

The ankle-brachial index test compares your blood pressure measured at your ankle with your 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. The ankle-brachial index test is sometimes recommended as part of a series of three tests, including the carotid ultrasound and abdominal ultrasound, to check for blocked or narrowed arteries.

How Do I Prepare for the Test

There are no special preparation for this quick non-invasive test. If you are a smoker, you are asked to refrain from smoking at least 2 hours prior to testing to decrease the chance of peripheral vascular constriction. ABI test is painless, although you might feel slight pressure when the cuffs are inflated. You will lie down on the exam table and blood pressure cuffs will be attached to your arms and legs. Stay still, breathe normally and relax. The ABI test usually lasts about 15 minutes.