Ankle-Brachial Index

Ankle-Brachial Index

In order for wounds to heal or the leg to be free of any pain there needs to be enough oxygen supply going to the limb.

When there is vascular disease and blood vessel narrowing in the arteries, the body opens up smaller blood vessels to bypass the blockages.

An Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) will determine a ratio of how much blood is going to a leg and whether it is sufficient for a wound to heal or for compression dressings to be used.

The test is non-invasive and involves pressure cuffs on the arms and legs. The patient then has to lie quietly while pressures are taken, waveforms are created of blood flow and ratio’s worked out.

Based on the results, one is classified into mild, moderate or severe disease.

Patients with moderate or severe disease will need a full arterial doppler – this is an ultrasound scan to look at the arteries directly, what the degree of narrowings are and where blockages are located. It will also assess blood flow.

From there it will be decided if an operation is necessary, such as a bypass or stent.