ABPI – ankle brachial pressure index tool

This blog discusses what is involved and how useful the ankle brachial pressure index tool is for patients with vascular disease.


What is the ankle brachial pressure index?  The ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI), otherwise known as the ankle to arm systolic pressure index is a vascular assessment that is carried out in order to determine the extent of vascular disease or ischaemia in the lower limb.

The index is calculated by measuring the maximum systolic pressure at the ankle (taking the highest reading of either the dorsalis pedis or the posterior tibial pulses) using a Doppler and then dividing it by the systolic pressure in the brachial artery.

The brachial artery is used because for some, as yet unknown reason, the arteries of the upper limb seem to be spared of atheroma formation, whereas the arteries in the lower limb are more commonly affected by vascular disease.

ABPI measurement can be performed in the following patients:-

  • Any patient with diabetes, if they have decreased pulses, foot ulcers and/ abnormality of blood flow).
  • Any patient with diabetes and leg pain of unknown aetiology.
  • All type 1 diabetes mellitus patients aged over 35 years, or with 20 or more years duration of diabetes undergoing baseline examination.
  • All patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus aged over 40 years or older undergoing baseline examination.
  • Any patient with a history of occlusion, ulceration or ischaemic pain.

If you fall into any one of the above patient categories it is a good idea to have an ABPI assessment to ascertain the vascular status of your lower limb and feet.  The Footcare Centre would be more than happy to assist you with this.

The result of the readings then determines what action is needed whether it be nothing/managing risk factors/routine referral onto a Vascular Consultant/Urgent referral onto Vascular Consultant.

For examination by one of our Podiatrist’s then please call us 01932 849373 or book online.


This blog has been written by Franc Pirc and is not necessarily the opinion of The Footcare Centre Ltd.

« Back