Test Predicts Walking Problems With Artery Disease

A simple test called the ankle brachial index (ABI) can help predict future walking problems in patients with peripheral arterial disease, a condition that involves hardening of the blood vessels in the legs and elsewhere, new research shows. The ABI, which can be determined in just a few minutes with standard equipment, is the ratio of the blood pressure in the ankle to the pressure in the arm. Any value below 1 is considered abnormal and values below 0.25 indicate severe blood flow problems that could result in amputation of the leg if left untreated. Previous reports have shown that the ABI and leg symptoms correlate with a person's current walking status. However, it was unclear whether these parameters could be used to gauge future functional impairment.

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