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Ankle brachial indexing: why it is still the best blood pressure test in 2023

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The ankle brachial index (ABI) is an easy-use gadget designed to streamline ankle and wrist systolic blood pressure comparison. But why is this testing method so important? To test for the risk of peripheral arterial disease from the hip to the feet.

Even in 2023 this tool is renowned as being the most effective in the industry, and can be performed anywhere from home care settings through to clinics and hospitals. All you need are the components and a little knowledge on how to operate this essential medical technology!

Let’s take a closer look at this tool and why it is still the gold standard in 2023:

What makes this technology so essential?

A high standard ABI doppler is imperative for testing patients with lower body (or “lower extremity’) wounds. This technology is essential because for a patient’s wound to heal they have to be receiving adequate blood flow to the affected area.

This technology will tell medical experts if you have impaired arterial blood flow (if you are experiencing this issue, it will also tell you the extent to which it is impaired!). It is also essential to know the compression needed to apply to the patient. Typically, the lower your reading, the lower the compression that can be applied to the affected area.

Why would I need a reading?

There are guidelines and standards of care that indicate when you should receive these important readings. Your medical professional will typically apply this test if you have foot pulses that are not obviously palpable; if you have a lower extremity ulcer; if the ulcer has ceased to heal and before applying compression wraps.

So, what is the ABI number?

It is important to first note that patients with end-stage renal disease or diabetes may experience incompressible vessels which makes it difficult to receive a fully accurate result. Their result may be high, and for this reason your medical professional may decide to use a toe brachial index test to ensure a more accurate result!

When it comes to the number, as your reading number decreases, it indicates that you have lower extremity arterial disease as well as poor blood flow. If you have an especially abnormal reading then your medical professional may request that you receive specialised treatment.

Bedside readings include the following measurements:

  • 1.0 is a standard reading;

  • 0.9 is more venous;

  • 0.6 - 0.8 shows a mixed aetiology;

  • 0.5 or lower shows lower extremity arterial disease.

The best wound care experts uphold particular standards of care and have to follow these established guidelines as decided by experts. Performing one of these tests on patients before wrapping any compression material for ulcers is one of these standards.

Wound clinicians are taught to use this technology as well as their clinical assessments to aid in deciding what kind of ulcer is being treated. This is done to ensure the best standard of treatment is followed. This is a tricky issue as lower extremity arterial disease can lead to leg amputation, so one must be sure that they are following the proper guidelines and testing according to recognised practices.

As you can see, this essential testing is still the recognised standard when it comes to systolic blood pressure. For the best, most efficient practice, this is still the most essential equipment in 2023 and will continue to be as it creates the most accurate reading!