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An ankle-brachial index test records the blood pressure in your arms and ankles. Comparing these blood pressure readings helps your doctor understand blood flow in your lower extremities.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals cardiologists diagnose vascular conditions using ankle brachial index in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV. Call (702) 616-4900 or Find a Doctor online if you are experiencing signs or symptoms of any cardiology (heart) conditions.
Doctors use your ankle-brachial index to diagnose peripheral artery disease (PAD), a form of atherosclerosis. PAD causes the arteries carrying blood to your limbs to narrow as plaque builds up in them. This results in symptoms that include:
These symptoms tend to improve with rest.
An ankle-brachial index test is a simple, painless test your cardiologist or primary care doctor can perform in the office. It involves placing blood pressure cuffs on your ankles and arms and measuring your blood pressure in each. Your doctor compares the readings between your arms and ankles to see if peripheral artery disease is present. The test only takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Your doctor may also use an ultrasound to produce images of blood flow using sound waves during the test. Your ankle brachial index may also be measured before and after you exercise on a treadmill. An ankle-brachial index test has no known risks or complications.
Dividing the top number of the blood pressure reading (systolic pressure) in your ankle arteries by the systolic pressure in the arms (the brachial artery) determines your ankle brachial index. Results fall under the following categories:
An ankle brachial index test can tell your doctor if peripheral artery disease is present. However, it cannot tell which vessels are causing the problem. If necessary, your doctor may recommend additional testing to identify the exact location of the narrowing or blockage. A magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) and an arteriogram are two imaging tests that can pinpoint the affected area. Your doctor uses imaging test results to plan your treatment.