When you’re scheduled to have an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test at Midcoast Cardiovascular, Dr. Ginkel is checking for any sign or indication of peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD refers to the occlusion, or closing, of the arteries in the legs and arms – arteries which branch off from the main trunk. This test measures and compares the blood pressures at the ankle and at the brachial artery in the arm. The ABI exam is performed using blood pressure cuffs on the ankles and wrists. Additionally, you may be asked to exercise as we measure your ABI while you are on the treadmill.
When these blood pressure numbers are lower than normal, that indicates that you may have a blockage or near closure that reduces the average pressure of blood flow through the peripheral arteries. In patients that have a low ABI, we know that circulation is lowered, which increases your risk of developing ischemia (reduced flow of oxygen) in the tissues.
Results and Expected Follow-Up Treatments
Dr. Ginkel will factor these test results into his analysis of the type of interventions necessary to get your circulation back to normal, restoring ample blood flow to your organs and supporting tissues, and allowing them to function at their best. The heart is then able to provide abundant blood flow to the extremities as needed. In addition to the ABI test, Dr. Ginkel might perform a more specific evaluation of the vascular system with an ultrasound exam of a targeted area of concern.
If your test results are indicative of PAD, Dr. Ginkel may recommend the following:
- That you stop smoking and drinking alcohol
- Diabetes management
- Cholesterol medication
- An exercise plan
- Angiographic evaluation and possible endovascular intervention (stent implantation)
While the ABI test can identify potential PAD, it can also be used to plan for preventative care of PAD. If your previous interventions were unsuccessful, Dr. Ginkel will adjust your treatment plan based on these ABI test results. Call Midcoast Cardiovascular today at 805-354-0112 to schedule your exam.