Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia

Timely and considerate care of the arterial and venous systems.

What is an Ankle-Brachial-Index (ABI) test?

If you are complaining of pain in your legs and your physician is suspecting a disease in your arteries or PAD, he/she might order a test called ABI.

An ankle-brachial-index or ABI, is a simple test to evaluate your blood circulation in your legs.  It measures the functionality of your arteries in supplying blood.  It is done by using a blood pressure machine and some sort of an ultrasound machine to listen to the pulses.  The examiner takes your pressures in your arms as well as your ankles.  By comparing the numbers, a ratio is formulated for each leg.

Normally, your ankle pressures should be equal or close to your arm pressures.  If the ankle pressure is lower than the arm pressure, it is an indication of a narrowing or blockage in your arteries.

The ABI is a general test to evaluate your blood circulation.  It does not have the capability of locating where the disease is located in your legs.  In order to do that, additional testing needs to be done.

The same test can be performed on the arms as well.  In that case, the comparison of pressures happens between the pressures in the wrists and the arm pressures.


Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia, P.C.
Vascular Lab

Our Vascular Surgeons:
Robert S. Podolsky, M.D.
Avisesh Sahgal, M.D.

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