What is ABI Testing?
ABI stands for “ankle brachial index.” It provides a reading of the circulatory health in your lower legs by comparing the blood pressure there to the blood pressure in your upper body.
The test is relatively easy. While you lie on your back, we take a blood pressure reading from your arms as well as your ankles. We then compare the values of these areas against each other—ankle pressure over arm pressure.
The lower the blood flow to your ankles is compared to the arm, the more likely that there is a condition such as PAD interfering with blood flow in the lower body. Regular monitoring through ABI testing (annually, although the schedule may be lengthened or shortened based on individual cases) can help us track the progression of any interference in your blood flow.
There will likely be no preparations you will have to make for this test, although it will help to wear loose clothing that we can easily adjust to take your blood pressure properly. You will also need to have been in a resting state for 15-30 minutes before the test.
When Should I Have ABI Testing?
Typically, there are certain risk factors that make ABI testing more likely to be necessary. They include:
- Having diabetes
- Having high blood pressure
- Being over the age of 70
- Having high levels of lipids in your blood
- Having abnormal pulse measurements in your legs
- Experiencing symptoms of pain in your legs during activity (i.e. intermittent claudication)
- Having a history of smoking
Many cases of PAD do not initially present any symptoms, however. We may still recommend an ABI test based on your medical history or other factors, even if you are not showing any outward signs of a problem at this time. Considering how quick and painless the test is, there is not much reason to postpone it.