The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a simple, noninvasive test for peripheral artery disease (PAD). It can be used to find out if you have PAD and to monitor you if you have PAD.
The ABI can show how severe PAD is, but it cannot identify the exact location of the blood vessels that are blocked or narrowed.
What are the advantages of the ABI test?
The ABI is the preferred way to diagnose PAD because it is simple, fast and sensitive. The test takes about 10 to 20 minutes and can be done in your doctor’s office or an outpatient clinic. The test does not cause any long-term problems.
Your doctor may want you to have an ABI test if you:
Have a history of using tobacco
Have diabetes and are over age 50
Are over age 65
Have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease
You should not have the ABI test if you have excruciating leg pain, cut(s) on your legs or feet or deep vein thrombosis.