This test is done by measuring blood pressure at the ankle and in the arm while a person is at rest. Measurements are usually repeated at both sites after 5 minutes of walking on a treadmill.
The ankle-brachial index (ABI) result is used to predict the severity of peripheral arterial diseases (PAD). A slight drop in your ABI with exercise means that you probably have PAD. This drop may be important, because PAD can be linked to a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
Symptoms and risk factors
- Overweight or obesity
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High cholesterol
- Family history of atherosclerosis or claudication
- High blood pressure
- Pain or numbness in the feet
- Thickening of the toenails
- Shiny, smooth, dry skin of the legs or feet
- Absent or diminished pulse in the legs or feet
- Open sores, skin infections or ulcers that will not heal
- Dry gangrene (dry, black skin) of the legs or feet