Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) Test

Non-invasive Test to Diagnose and Predict Peripheral Vascular Disease

An ankle-brachial index (ABI) test is the primary diagnostic test used by experts at Loyola Medicine to diagnose and predict the severity of peripheral vascular disease, also known as peripheral arterial disease, and other potential cardiovascular health problems in your legs.
 
Used to test blood pressure, ABI compares the blood pressure in your legs to the blood pressure in your arms. Under normal circumstances, the blood pressure in your arms and legs is the same. If the pressure in your ankles is lower, you might be at risk for peripheral vascular disease.
 
Experts at Loyola use the ratio of your ankle pressure to your brachial pressure as an indicator of the severity of your peripheral vascular disease—a disease that can result in risk of heart attack, stroke, poor circulation and leg pain. Peripheral artery disease can be a result of narrow arteries, artery blockage and poor circulation.

What to Expect with ABI

The ABI test is a non-invasive test involving several blood pressure measurements in your arms and legs. When taking the test, you will be asked to lie face up while blood pressure measurements are taken at your ankles, legs and arms using an inflatable cuff. You may also be asked to take measurements after a brief period of exercise on a treadmill. 
 
Following your test, your results will be sent to your referring doctor, who will determine if further treatment is necessary.

What Are the Risks of Ankle-Brachial Index Test?

An ankle-brachial index test does not carry any inherent risks. You may feel slight discomfort when the inflatable cuffs are on your arms or legs, but the discomfort is minimal and is relieved when the cuffs deflate.