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ABI Testing

What is an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test?

An ankle-brachial index (ABI) test is a brief, non-invasive screening procedure used to look for signs of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Peripheral artery disease affects one out of every 20 adults in the U.S. over the age of 50, including many adults in Top of Utah. Individuals with PAD usually have blockages in the arteries of one or both legs; blockages can cause pain, numbness, and cramping in the legs. In advanced cases, PAD can even cause ulcers, gangrene, and limb loss.

During an ABI test, a healthcare professional measures the blood pressure in your arms and legs and compares the two readings. Lower blood pressure in the legs may indicate arterial blockages and peripheral artery disease.

Who needs ABI testing?

Medical experts recommend annual ABI testing for individuals who are:

  • Over the age of 70.
  • Over the age of 50 and have a history of diabetes and/or smoking.
  • Under the age of 50 and have some of PAD the risk factors below:
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Achiness in the legs
  • Fatigue
  • Painful cramping in the legs
  • Burning sensation in the legs
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Personal or family history of heart or vascular disease
  • Black or Hispanic ethnicity

Are you at risk?

Schedule your ABI test at Davis Hospital and Medical Center by calling 866-431-WELL (9355).

How is the test performed? Does it hurt?

Not at all. An ankle-brachial index test is a totally non-invasive and painless test. It takes just 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Here’s how the screening happens…

First, your test administrator will place blood pressure cuffs on your arm and your leg. A small handheld ultrasound device known as a transducer is used to amplify the sound of blood flowing through the arms and legs. Blood pressure readings are taken of the arm and then of the leg. The transducer also allows the healthcare professional to listen to the sound of blood flowing through your arteries. Blocked arteries may produce a different sound.

Depending on your medical history, blood pressure, and other factors, your test administrator may ask you to perform some mild exercise during the test – sometimes called a “treadmill test” or “stress test.”

What do the test results mean?

A normal ABI test result is 1.0 or greater. The acceptable “normal” range is generally considered to be between 0.90 and 1.40. A 1.0 indicates that the blood pressure in the arm is the same as the blood pressure in the leg. Test results greater than 1.0 indicate blood pressure is higher in the legs than in the arms. In other words, peripheral artery disease is not present.

If your test results are less than 1.0, this means that blood pressure in the legs is lower than blood pressure in the arms. Peripheral artery disease could be the cause of this discrepancy. More testing may be necessary.

What happens next?

After your PAD screening, your healthcare provider will go over the test results with you. If treatment is necessary, your test administrator may recommend that you schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss your options. If you do not have a PCP, you may be referred to a physician.

Physician-supervised diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can go a long way in treating peripheral artery disease. Blood sugar controllers, blood pressure medications, and clot-preventing drugs may also be used in managing peripheral artery disease. In advanced cases of PAD, your physician may refer you to an interventional cardiologist for angioplasty and stent placement.

Schedule Your ABI Test in Layton | PAD Screening – Layton, UT

For more information, or to schedule your ABI test, call 866-431-WELL (9355). Testing is available for the low price of $30; no physician referral is required. Get in; get out; get the answers you need!

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