The ankle-brachial pressure index (ABPI) or ankle-brachial index (ABI) is the ratio of the blood pressure at the ankle to the blood pressure in the upper arm (brachium). Compared to the arm, lower blood pressure in the leg suggests blocked arteries due to peripheral vascular disease (PVD).
The ankle-brachial index test is done to check for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a condition in which the arteries in your legs or arms are narrowed.
Ask your doctor if you should have this test if you are age 50 or older and have any of these risk factors for PAD:
- Being a current or former smoker
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
If you’ve already been diagnosed with PAD, your doctor may recommend having an ankle-brachial index test to see if your treatment is working or if your condition has worsened.
If you have symptoms of PAD, your doctor may suggest you have an exercise ankle-brachial index test to determine if your symptoms, such as leg pain with walking, are due to PAD or other conditions, such as spinal stenosis.
In an exercise ankle-brachial index test, you walk on a treadmill for a short time before your ankle-brachial index is measured.