Have you ever had problems with your circulatory system? Or perhaps you are pondering what it means. Among healthy individuals, blood flows to and from their legs and feet with practically no issues. However, among people with circulatory issues, their arteries will narrow, which will in turn reduce the blood flow to a patient’s limb. This condition is called PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease).

    How can you make out if you are having PAD? Check if you have leg numbness, weakness, or even coldness, as well as muscle cramps or pain when walking. Assuming you have any of these symptoms, you should think about undergoing ABI (Ankle Brachial Index) test. At Apurva Advanced Medical Care, we offer this quick, minimally invasive procedure if you think you need an ABI test.

    What is an Ankle Brachial Index test?

    Your primary care physician can measure the blood flow to your legs and feet with a quick and inexpensive screening known as an ABI test. By checking your pulse in numerous regions of your body, an ABI test can feature any possible issues, for example, blockages in the bloodstream to your limbs and how intense your PAD condition is. This screening permits us to figure out high-risk patients in order to prevent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular ailments in the future.

    Who is eligible to take an ABI test?

    Patients who are having PAD symptoms, such as leg numbness, weakness, or even coldness, as well as muscle cramps or pain when walking over time should opt for an ABI test. Especially if there is no relief from symptoms even after taking rest, you should talk to their primary care doctor right away. If left untreated, side effects might deteriorate and could increase the risk of losing the limb.

    Risk factors include patients with:

    • Diabetes
    • More than 50 years old 
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Family history of heart disease
    • Smoking or tobacco consumption
    • Atherosclerosis (arterial narrowing leading to plaque formation)

    How is the ABI test administered?

    Before performing the test, your primary care provider will require you to lie down so that your arms and ankles are at heart level. After that, a nurse or medical assistant will use an ultrasound device known as a Doppler to listen to the blood flow in your arteries and take your blood pressure using an inflatable cuff that will be worn on both your ankles and arms.

    Your doctor will put the blood pressure cuff on one arm and apply a little gel on top of the brachial artery. As the blood pressure cuff swells and deflates, your care team will utilize the Doppler to pay attention to your heartbeat and record the measurement. This procedure is repeated for both arms as well as your lower legs. The numbers will be used to calculate the Ankle Brachial Index for each leg after the screening has been completed by your primary care team.

    What do the ABI results indicate?

    After taking your blood pressure and making the ABI calculation, your primary care team will give you a number that is between 0 and 1.

    A normal ABI is somewhere in the range of 0.9 and 1.4. If you get a score between 1.0 and 1.4, it indicates that you have an abnormal ABI. 

    • Above 1.4: Recommends calcification
    • 1.0 – 1.4: Normal 
    • 0.9-1.0: Borderline
    • 0.8 – 0.9: Some artery-related ailments
    • 0.5 – 0.8: Moderate artery-related ailment
    • Under 0.5: Severe arterial disease

    Your doctor may recommend treatment if your ankle-brachial index is higher than 1.4 or lower than 0.5. If your number is higher than 1.4, you might need a toe brachial index test, or TBI, to get the best diagnosis.If ABI is 0.9 or lesser, the patient is determined to have PAD. This implies the patient is at high risk for coronary failure or stroke, kidney sickness, and additionally hypertension.

    What preparations should I make before the ABI test?

    • Avoid exercising for one hour prior to the test.
    • Try not to eat or drink whatever contains caffeine upon the arrival of your test.
    • Try not to involve tobacco items or liquor for one hour before your test.
    • Wear a comfortable dress.
    • Let your providers know if you’ve had any procedures on your legs
    • Use the bathroom and urinate until you empty your bladder.

    What are the benefits of the ABI test?

    • Simple and affordable
    • Takes 10-20 minutes
    • Non-invasive
    • Painless
    • No long-term issues
    • Could be an outpatient procedure without any need for hospitalization
    • No sedation required
    • You can resume your normal activities following the ABI test.

    Are there any side effects of an ABI test?

    Risks are very rare. There might be only slight discomfort when the blood pressure cuffs tighten. However, if you experience any of the signs like pale or bluish skin or one leg chill than the other, consult the doctor right away.

    Final Thoughts

    Therefore, an ABI test might be right for you if you or someone you know thinks they might be at risk for PAD. Call us or make an appointment online with one of our Apurva Advanced Medical Care providers to find out whether you qualify for the test. Get it tested early in order to save your life.