Peripheral artery disease is a condition of the arteries of the arms or legs. Under this condition, the arteries get narrowed or blocked, resulting in an increased risk of leg pain, poor circulation, heart attack, or stroke. The ankle-brachial index test is a noninvasive test to check the risk of PAD in a patient.
The ankle-brachial index test compares the patient’s blood pressure taken at the ankle with the blood pressure taken at the arm. If the ankle-brachial index number is low, it indicates the blockage or narrowing of the arteries in the patient’s legs, which can result in an increased risk of circulatory problems.
The ankle brachial test is also, at times, performed as a part of a series of test that can include a carotid and abdominal ultrasound as well. This series of tests is performed to check for diseased or blocked arteries.
Why is it done?
The ankle-brachial index test, as mentioned, is done to check for peripheral artery disease, wherein the arteries in the patient’s legs or arms are narrowed.
This test is generally prescribed to patients who are over the age of 50 yearsand have some of the following, which are considered as risk factors for PAD:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Being a current or former smoker
If the patient has already been diagnosed with having PAD, the test may be performed by the doctor to check whether the treatment is working, or if the condition has worsened.
There are no physical risks associated with the ankle-brachial index test except for slight discomfort when the blood pressure cuff inflates.