Ankle brachial index (ABI) is a simple method to screen peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and to evaluate cardiovascular (CV) prognosis in the general population. Measuring it requires a hand-held Doppler probe but it can be done also with an automatic device. ABI is an effective tool for clinical practice or clinical studies. However, in diabetic patients, it has some specific caveats. Sensitivity of the standard threshold of 0.9 appears to be lower in diabetic patients with complications. Moreover, highly frequent arterial medial calcifications in diabetes increase ABI. It has been demonstrated that measurements >1.3 are well correlated with both an increased prevalence of PAD and CV risk. Therefore, ABI thresholds of less than 0.9 and more than 1.3 are highly suspicious for PAD and high CV risk in diabetic patients. However, when there is concomitant clinical peripheral neuropathy or high risk of arterial calcification, the efficiency of ABI seems to be limited. In this case, other methods should be applied, toe pressure, in particular. Thus, the ABI could be used in patients with diabetes, but values should be interpreted with precision, according to the clinical situation.
Copyright Â© 2010 European Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.