Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) Ultrasound

What is an ABI Ultrasound?

An ankle brachial index, or ABI,  is an ultrasound exam using high frequency sound waves and a blood pressure machine to measure the arterial blood flow pressure difference between your arms and legs and analyze the quality of blood flow in your ankle arteries. This screening exam can give your health care provider valuable information about your general circulation. This is not a study of the veins for blood clots. Ultrasound is safe and does not involve the use of any injections or radiation.

How is the examination performed?

A registered Sonographer (Ultrasound Technologist) will perform your examination and can answer any questions you may have.  This study is done by placing a small amount of warm ultrasound gel on your ankles, pressing a small probe or transducer over the area to be imaged, while a blood pressure cuff is placed in various locations on your arm and leg.

Who is a candidate for an ABI?

There are a variety of reasons your health care provider may have sent you to us today. Some of these reasons include leg pain, difficulty walking distances, general blood flow concern, or other reasons.

Will I need to prepare for the exam?

No, there isn’t any preparation for this exam.  You may want to wear comfortable clothing so the technologist can access your arm and leg.

What will I experience?

You will be asked to lie down on your back.  The Sonographer will first place some warm gel on your skin and begin pressing the transducer or probe into the artery in each ankle and a series of images will be taken. Then the gel will be wiped off. The second part of the exam is the blood pressure measurement for each arm and each lower leg. After that you are done! This simple 30-45 minute test can give your health care provider valuable information about your general circulation.

What happens next?

Your images will be analyzed by the Technologist and sent to the Radiologist’s computer for interpretation.

The Radiologist, a State of New Mexico licensed and board certified Physician specialized in radiology interpretation, will read your images. A report will be recorded and transcribed then sent to your Physician who will explain the results to you.

This is a screening examination and may require additional imaging and consultation depending upon your results. You may be referred to a facility that offers a more in-depth vascular service above what we currently offer.