During the test
You lie on a table on your back, and a technician measures your blood pressure in both your arms using an inflatable cuff. Then, the technician measures the blood pressure in two arteries in your left ankle using the inflatable cuff and a hand-held Doppler ultrasound device that your doctor will press on your skin. The Doppler device uses sound waves to produce images and lets your doctor hear your pulse in your ankle arteries after the cuff is deflated.
The procedure for performing an ankle-brachial index test may vary slightly, based on your doctor's preference.
Having an ankle-brachial index test is painless and similar to getting your blood pressure taken in a routine visit to your doctor. You may feel some pressure on your arm or ankle when the cuff inflates to read your blood pressure.
After the test
The ankle-brachial index test should take only a few minutes, and there are no special precautions you'll need to take following the test. Your doctor will discuss your test result with you.
June 26, 2013
- Grenon SM, et al. Ankle-brachial index for assessment of peripheral artery disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 2009;361:e40.
- Ankle-brachial index. Vascular Disease Foundation. http://vasculardisease.org/peripheral-artery-disease/pad-diagnosis/ankle-brachial-index/. Accessed Sept. 18, 2012.
- AskMayoExpert. How are the results of ankle-brachial index testing classified at Mayo Clinic? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Rooke TW, et al. 2011 ACCF/AHA focused update of the guideline for the management of patients with peripheral artery disease (updating the 2005 guideline): A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on practice guidelines. Circulation. 2011;124:2020.
- Ankle Brachial Index Collaboration. Ankle brachial index combined with Framingham Risk Score to predict cardiovascular events and mortality: A meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008;300:197.
- Grogan M (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Rochester, Minn. Aug. 24, 2012.