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1.  Stenting for Peripheral Artery Disease of the Lower Extremities 
Executive Summary
In January 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat received an application from University Health Network to provide an evidentiary platform on stenting as a treatment management for peripheral artery disease. The purpose of this health technology assessment is to examine the effectiveness of primary stenting as a treatment management for peripheral artery disease of the lower extremities.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a progressive disease occurring as a result of plaque accumulation (atherosclerosis) in the arterial system that carries blood to the extremities (arms and legs) as well as vital organs. The vessels that are most affected by PAD are the arteries of the lower extremities, the aorta, the visceral arterial branches, the carotid arteries and the arteries of the upper limbs. In the lower extremities, PAD affects three major arterial segments i) aortic-iliac, ii) femoro-popliteal (FP) and iii) infra-popliteal (primarily tibial) arteries. The disease is commonly classified clinically as asymptomatic claudication, rest pain and critical ischemia.
Although the prevalence of PAD in Canada is not known, it is estimated that 800,000 Canadians have PAD. The 2007 Trans Atlantic Intersociety Consensus (TASC) II Working Group for the Management of Peripheral Disease estimated that the prevalence of PAD in Europe and North America to be 27 million, of whom 88,000 are hospitalizations involving lower extremities. A higher prevalence of PAD among elderly individuals has been reported to range from 12% to 29%. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) estimated that the prevalence of PAD is 14.5% among individuals 70 years of age and over.
Modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors associated with PAD include advanced age, male gender, family history, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. PAD is a strong predictor of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke and cardiovascular death. Annually, approximately 10% of ischemic cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events can be attributed to the progression of PAD. Compared with patients without PAD, the 10-year risk of all-cause mortality is 3-fold higher in patients with PAD with 4-5 times greater risk of dying from cardiovascular event. The risk of coronary heart disease is 6 times greater and increases 15-fold in patients with advanced or severe PAD. Among subjects with diabetes, the risk of PAD is often severe and associated with extensive arterial calcification. In these patients the risk of PAD increases two to four fold. The results of the Canadian public survey of knowledge of PAD demonstrated that Canadians are unaware of the morbidity and mortality associated with PAD. Despite its prevalence and cardiovascular risk implications, only 25% of PAD patients are undergoing treatment.
The diagnosis of PAD is difficult as most patients remain asymptomatic for many years. Symptoms do not present until there is at least 50% narrowing of an artery. In the general population, only 10% of persons with PAD have classic symptoms of claudication, 40% do not complain of leg pain, while the remaining 50% have a variety of leg symptoms different from classic claudication. The severity of symptoms depends on the degree of stenosis. The need to intervene is more urgent in patients with limb threatening ischemia as manifested by night pain, rest pain, ischemic ulcers or gangrene. Without successful revascularization those with critical ischemia have a limb loss (amputation) rate of 80-90% in one year.
Diagnosis of PAD is generally non-invasive and can be performed in the physician offices or on an outpatient basis in a hospital. Most common diagnostic procedure include: 1) Ankle Brachial Index (ABI), a ratio of the blood pressure readings between the highest ankle pressure and the highest brachial (arm) pressure; and 2) Doppler ultrasonography, a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of ultrasound and wave form recordings to evaluate arterial flow in blood vessels. The value of the ABI can provide an assessment of the severity of the disease. Other non invasive imaging techniques include: Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA). Definitive diagnosis of PAD can be made by an invasive catheter based angiography procedure which shows the roadmap of the arteries, depicting the exact location and length of the stenosis / occlusion. Angiography is the standard method against which all other imaging procedures are compared for accuracy.
More than 70% of the patients diagnosed with PAD remain stable or improve with conservative management of pharmacologic agents and life style modifications. Significant PAD symptoms are well known to negatively influence an individual quality of life. For those who do not improve, revascularization methods either invasive or non-invasive can be used to restore peripheral circulation.
Technology Under Review
A Stent is a wire mesh “scaffold” that is permanently implanted in the artery to keep the artery open and can be combined with angioplasty to treat PAD. There are two types of stents: i) balloon-expandable and ii) self expandable stents and are available in varying length. The former uses an angioplasty balloon to expand and set the stent within the arterial segment. Recently, drug-eluting stents have been developed and these types of stents release small amounts of medication intended to reduce neointimal hyperplasia, which can cause re-stenosis at the stent site. Endovascular stenting avoids the problem of early elastic recoil, residual stenosis and flow limiting dissection after balloon angioplasty.
Research Questions
In individuals with PAD of the lower extremities (superficial femoral artery, infra-popliteal, crural and iliac artery stenosis or occlusion), is primary stenting more effective than percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) in improving patency?
In individuals with PAD of the lower extremities (superficial femoral artery, infra-popliteal, crural and iliac artery stenosis or occlusion), does primary stenting provide immediate success compared to PTA?
In individuals with PAD of the lower extremities (superficial femoral artery, infra-popliteal, crural and iliac artery stenosis or occlusion), is primary stenting associated with less complications compared to PTA?
In individuals with PAD of the lower extremities (superficial femoral artery, infra-popliteal, crural and iliac artery stenosis or occlusion), does primary stenting compared to PTA reduce the rate of re-intervention?
In individuals with PAD of the lower extremities (superficial femoral artery, infra-popliteal, crural and iliac artery stenosis or occlusion) is primary stenting more effective than PTA in improving clinical and hemodynamic success?
Are drug eluting stents more effective than bare stents in improving patency, reducing rates of re-interventions or complications?
Research Methods
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on February 2, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA). Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-reports from 1950 to January Week 3, 2010
Comparative randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analyses of RCTs
Proven diagnosis of PAD of the lower extremities in all patients.
Adult patients at least 18 years of age.
Stent as at least one treatment arm.
Patency, re-stenosis, re-intervention, technical success, hemodynamic (ABI) and clinical improvement and complications as at least an outcome.
Exclusion Criteria
Non-randomized studies
Observational studies (cohort or retrospective studies) and case report
Feasibility studies
Studies that have evaluated stent but not as a primary intervention
Outcomes of Interest
The primary outcome measure was patency. Secondary measures included technical success, re-intervention, complications, hemodynamic (ankle brachial pressure index, treadmill walking distance) and clinical success or improvement according to Rutherford scale. It was anticipated, a priori, that there would be substantial differences among trials regarding the method of examination and definitions of patency or re-stenosis. Where studies reported only re-stenosis rates, patency rates were calculated as 1 minus re-stenosis rates.
Statistical Analysis
Odds ratios (for binary outcomes) or mean difference (for continuous outcomes) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for each endpoint. An intention to treat principle (ITT) was used, with the total number of patients randomized to each study arm as the denominator for each proportion. Sensitivity analysis was performed using per protocol approach. A pooled odds ratio (POR) or mean difference for each endpoint was then calculated for all trials reporting that endpoint using a fixed effects model. PORs were calculated for comparisons of primary stenting versus PTA or other alternative procedures. Level of significance was set at alpha=0.05. Homogeneity was assessed using the chi-square test, I2 and by visual inspection of forest plots. If heterogeneity was encountered within groups (P < 0.10), a random effects model was used. All statistical analyses were performed using RevMan 5. Where sufficient data were available, these analyses were repeated within subgroups of patients defined by time of outcome assessment to evaluate sustainability of treatment benefit. Results were pooled based on the diseased artery and stent type.
Summary of Findings
Balloon-expandable stents vs PTA in superficial femoral artery disease
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, there is no significant difference in patency between primary stenting using balloon-expandable bare metal stents and PTA at 6, 12 and 24 months in patients with superficial femoral artery disease. The pooled OR for patency and their corresponding 95% CI are: 6 months 1.26 (0.74, 2.13); 12 months 0.95 (0.66, 1.38); and 24 months 0.72 (0.34. 1.55).
There is no significant difference in clinical improvement, re-interventions, peri and post operative complications, mortality and amputations between primary stenting using balloon-expandable bare stents and PTA in patients with superficial femoral artery. The pooled OR and their corresponding 95% CI are clinical improvement 0.85 (0.50, 1.42); ankle brachial index 0.01 (-0.02, 0.04) re-intervention 0.83 (0.26, 2.65); complications 0.73 (0.43, 1.22); all cause mortality 1.08 (0.59, 1.97) and amputation rates 0.41 (0.14, 1.18).
Self-expandable stents vs PTA in superficial femoral artery disease
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, primary stenting using self-expandable bare metal stents is associated with significant improvement in patency at 6, 12 and 24 months in patients with superficial femoral artery disease. The pooled OR for patency and their corresponding 95% CI are: 6 months 2.35 (1.06, 5.23); 12 months 1.54 (1.01, 2.35); and 24 months 2.18 (1.00. 4.78). However, the benefit of primary stenting is not observed for clinical improvement, re-interventions, peri and post operative complications, mortality and amputation in patients with superficial femoral artery disease. The pooled OR and their corresponding 95% CI are clinical improvement 0.61 (0.37, 1.01); ankle brachial index 0.01 (-0.06, 0.08) re-intervention 0.60 (0.36, 1.02); complications 1.60 (0.53, 4.85); all cause mortality 3.84 (0.74, 19.22) and amputation rates 1.96 (0.20, 18.86).
Balloon expandable stents vs PTA in iliac artery occlusive disease
Based on moderate quality of evidence, despite immediate technical success, 12.23 (7.17, 20.88), primary stenting is not associated with significant improvement in patency, clinical status, treadmill walking distance and reduction in re-intervention, complications, cardiovascular events, all cause mortality, QoL and amputation rates in patients with intermittent claudication caused by iliac artery occlusive disease. The pooled OR and their corresponding 95% CI are: patency 1.03 (0.56, 1.87); clinical improvement 1.08 (0.60, 1.94); walking distance 3.00 (12.96, 18.96); re-intervention 1.16 (0.71, 1.90); complications 0.56 (0.20, 1.53); all cause mortality 0.89 (0.47, 1.71); QoL 0.40 (-4.42, 5.52); cardiovascular event 1.16 (0.56, 2.40) and amputation rates 0.37 (0.11, 1.23). To date no RCTs are available evaluating self-expandable stents in the common or external iliac artery stenosis or occlusion.
Drug-eluting stent vs balloon-expandable bare metal stents in crural arteries
Based on a very low quality of evidence, at 6 months of follow-up, sirolimus drug-eluting stents are associated with a reduction in target vessel revascularization and re-stenosis rates in patients with atherosclerotic lesions of crural (tibial) arteries compared with balloon-expandable bare metal stent. The OR and their corresponding 95% CI are: re-stenosis 0.09 (0.03, 0.28) and TVR 0.15 (0.05, 0.47) in patients with atherosclerotic lesions of the crural arteries at 6 months follow-up. Both types of stents offer similar immediate success. Limitations of this study include: short follow-up period, small sample and no assessment of mortality as an outcome. Further research is needed to confirm its effect and safety.
PMCID: PMC3377569  PMID: 23074395
2.  Automated Ankle-Brachial Pressure Index Measurement by Clinical Staff for Peripheral Arterial Disease Diagnosis in Nondiabetic and Diabetic Patients 
Diabetes Care  2009;32(7):1231-1236.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a prognostic marker in cardiovascular disease. The use of Doppler-measured ankle-brachial pressure index (Dop-ABI) for PAD diagnosis is limited because of time, required training, and costs. We assessed automated oscillometric measurement of the ankle-brachial pressure index (Osc-ABI) by nurses and clinical staff.
Clinical staff obtained Osc-ABI with an automated oscillometric device in 146 patients (83 with diabetes) at the time of Dop-ABI measurement and ultrasound evaluation.
Measurements were obtained in most legs (Dop-ABI 98%; Osc-ABI 95.5%). Dop- and Osc-ABI were significantly related in diabetic and nondiabetic patients with good agreement over a wide range of values. When Dop-ABI ≤0.90 was used as the gold standard for PAD, receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that PAD was accurately diagnosed with Osc-ABI in diabetic patients. When ultrasound was used to define PAD, Dop-ABI had better diagnostic performance than Osc-ABI in the whole population and in diabetic patients (P = 0.026). Both methods gave similar results in nondiabetic patients. The cutoff values for the highest sensitivity and specificity for PAD screening were between 1.0 and 1.1. Estimation of cost with the French medical care system fees showed a potential reduction by three of the screening procedures.
PAD screening could be improved by using Osc-ABI measured by clinical staff with the benefit of greater cost-effectiveness but at the risk of lower diagnostic performance in diabetic patients.
PMCID: PMC2699730  PMID: 19366974
3.  Current utility of the ankle-brachial index (ABI) in general practice: implications for its use in cardiovascular disease screening 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:69.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a marker of systemic atherosclerosis and associated with a three to six fold increased risk of death from cardiovascular causes. Furthermore, it is typically asymptomatic and under-diagnosed; this has resulted in escalating calls for the instigation of Primary Care PAD screening via Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) measurement. However, there is limited evidence regarding the feasibility of this and if the requisite core skills and knowledge for such a task already exist within primary care. This study aimed to determine the current utility of ABI measurement in general practices across Wales, with consideration of the implications for its use as a cardiovascular risk screening tool.
A self-reporting questionnaire was distributed to all 478 General Practices within Wales, sent via their responsible Health Boards.
The survey response rate was 20%. ABI measurement is primarily performed by nurses (93%) for the purpose of wound management (90%). It is infrequently (73% < 4 times per month) and often incorrectly used (42% out of compliance with current ABI guidance). Only 52% of general practitioners and 16% of nurses reported that patients with an ABI of ≤ 0.9 require aggressive cardiovascular disease risk factor modification (as recommended by current national and international guidelines).
ABI measurement is an under-utilised and often incorrectly performed procedure in the surveyed general practices. Prior to its potential adoption as a formalised screening tool for cardiovascular disease, there is a need for a robust training programme with standardised methodology in order to optimise accuracy and consistency of results. The significance of a diagnosis of PAD, in terms of associated increased cardiovascular risk and the necessary risk factor modification, needs to be highlighted.
PMCID: PMC4021160  PMID: 24742018
Peripheral arterial disease; Doppler ultrasound; Atherosclerosis; Secondary prevention
4.  Critical Review of the Ankle Brachial Index 
Current Cardiology Reviews  2008;4(2):101-106.
Ankle brachial index (ABI) has been utilized in the management of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).ABI is a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis and recent studies indicate its utility as a predictor of future cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. Even so, this critical test is underutilized. The purpose of this review is to summarize available evidence associated with ABI methodology variances, ABI usage in the treatment of PAD, and ABI efficacy in predicting cardiovascular disease. This review further evaluates how ABI is used in the prognosis and follow-up of lower extremity arterial disease.We reviewed the most current American College of Cardiology guidelines for the management of PAD, the Trans Atlantic Intersociety Consensus (TASC) working group recommendations, and searched the Medline for the following words: ankle brachial index, ABI sensitivity and specificity, and peripheral arterial disease.
The ABI is a simple, noninvasive clinical test that should not only be applied to diagnose PAD, but also to provide important prognostic information about future cardiovascular events. Although the ABI has been employed in clinical practice for some time, our review of various studies reveals a lack of standardization regarding both the method of measuring ABI and the cutoff point for abnormal ABI. It is extremely important that we understand all aspects of this crucial test, as it is now being recommended as part of a patient’s routine health risk assessment.
PMCID: PMC2779349  PMID: 19936284
Peripheral arterial disease; Ankle Brachial index; ABI Sensitivity and Specificity; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
5.  To screen or not to screen for peripheral arterial disease in subjects aged 80 and over in primary health care: a cross-sectional analysis from the BELFRAIL study 
BMC Family Practice  2011;12:39.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is common in older people. An ankle-brachial index (ABI) < 0.9 can be used as an indicator of PAD. Patients with low ABI have increased mortality and a higher risk of serious cardiovascular morbidity. However, because 80% of the patients are asymptomatic, PAD remains unrecognised in a large group of patients. The aims of this study were 1) to examine the prevalence of reduced ABI in subjects aged 80 and over, 2) to determine the diagnostic accuracy of the medical history and clinical examination for reduced ABI and 3) to investigate the difference in functioning and physical activity between patients with and without reduced ABI.
A cross-sectional study embedded within the BELFRAIL study. A general practitioner (GP) centre, located in Hoeilaart, Belgium, recruited 239 patients aged 80 or older. Only three criteria for exclusion were used: urgent medical need, palliative situation and known serious dementia. The GP recorded the medical history and performed a clinical examination. The clinical research assistant performed an extensive examination including Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15), Activities of Daily Living (ADL), Tinetti test and the LASA Physical Activity Questionnaire (LAPAQ). ABI was measured using an automatic oscillometric appliance.
In 40% of patients, a reduced ABI was found. Cardiovascular risk factors were unable to identify patients with low ABI. A negative correlation was found between the number of cardiovascular morbidities and ABI. Cardiovascular morbidity had a sensitivity of 65.7% (95% CI 53.4-76.7) and a specificity of 48.6% (95% CI 38.7-58.5). Palpation of the peripheral arteries showed the highest negative predictive value (77.7% (95% CI 71.8-82.9)). The LAPAQ score was significantly lower in the group with reduced ABI.
The prevalence of PAD is very high in patients aged 80 and over in general practice. The clinical examination, cardiovascular risk factors and the presence of cardiovascular morbidity were not able to identify patients with a low ABI. A screening strategy for PAD by determining ABI could be considered if effective interventions for those aged 80 and over with a low ABI become available through future research.
PMCID: PMC3121584  PMID: 21605447
6.  The Relation Between Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) and Coronary Artery Disease Severity and Risk Factors: An Angiographic Study 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2011;7(2):68-73.
The current study aims to determine the relation between ankle–brachial index (ABI) and angiographic findings and major cardiovascular risk factors in patients with suspected coronary artery diseases (CAD) in Isfahan.
In this cross-sectional descriptive-analytic research, patients with suspected CAD were studied. Characteristics of studied subjects including demographics, familial history, past medical history and atherosclerotic risk factors such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking were obtained using a standard questionnaire. ABI was measured in all studied patients. ABI≤0.9 (ABI+) was considered as peripheral vessel disease and ABI>0.9 (ABI-) was considered as normal. Then, all studied patients underwent coronary artery angiography. The results of the questionnaire and angiographic findings were compared in ABI+ and ABI- groups. Data were analyzed by SPSS 15 using ANOVA, t-test, Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, and discriminant analysis.
In this study, 125 patients were investigated. ABI≤0.9 was seen in 25 patients (20%). The prevalence of ABI+ among men and women was 25.9% and 7.5%, respectively (P=0.01). The prevalence of atherosclerotic risk factors was significantly higher in ABI+ patients than in ABI- ones (P<0.05). ABI+ patients had more significant stenosis than ABI- ones. The mean of occlusion was significantly higher in ABI+ patients with left main artery (LMA), right coronary artery (RCA), left anterior descending artery (LAD), diagonal artery 1 (D1) and left circumflex artery (LCX) involvements (P<0.05).
The findings of this research indicated that ABI could be a useful method in assessing both the atherosclerotic risk factors and the degree of coronary involvements in suspected patients. However, in order to make more accurate decisions for using this method in diagnosing and preventing CAD, we should plan further studies in large sample sizes of general population.
PMCID: PMC3347847  PMID: 22577449
Ankle–Brachial Index; Angiography; Atherosclerotic Risk Factors.
7.  Combination of High Ankle–Brachial Index and Hard Coronary Heart Disease Framingham Risk Score in Predicting the Risk of Ischemic Stroke in General Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106251.
Our previous study showed that the patients with more metabolic risk factors had higher risk of high ankle–brachial index (ABI), but the relationship between high ABI and the risk of severe cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases is still under debate. This study aims to evaluate this association in the general population. 1486 subjects of South China were recruited in the study. 61 subjects were defined as high ABI group (ABI≥1.3) and 65 subjects were randomly selected as normal ABI group (0.9
PMCID: PMC4157777  PMID: 25198106
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), defined by a low ankle-brachial index (ABI), is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, but the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) over the range of the ABI is not well characterized, nor described for African Americans.
The ABI was measured in 12186 white and African American men and women in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study in 1987–89. Fatal and non-fatal CHD events were ascertained through annual telephone contacts, surveys of hospital discharge lists and death certificate data, and clinical examinations, including electrocardiograms, every 3 years. Participants were followed for a median of 13.1 years. Age- and field-center-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated using Cox regression models.
Over a median 13.1 years follow-up, 964 fatal or non-fatal CHD events accrued. In whites, the age- and field-center-adjusted CHD hazard ratio (HR, 95% CI) for PAD (ABI<0.90) was 2.81 (1.77–4.45) for men and 2.05 (1.20–3.53) for women. In African Americans, the HR for men was 4.86 (2.76–8.47) and for women was 2.34 (1.26–4.35). The CHD risk increased exponentially with decreasing ABI as a continuous function, and continued to decline at ABI values > 1.0, in all race-gender subgroups. The association between the ABI and CHD relative risk was similar for men and women in both race groups. A 0.10 lower ABI increased the CHD hazard by 25% (95% CI 17–34%) in white men, by 20% (8–33%) in white women, by 34% (19–50%) in African American men, and by 32% (17–50%) in African American women.
African American members of the ARIC cohort had higher prevalences of PAD and greater risk of CHD associated with ABI-defined PAD than did white participants. Unlike in other cohorts, in ARIC the CHD risk failed to increase at high (>1.3) ABI values. We conclude that at this time high ABI values should not be routinely considered a marker for increased CVD risk in the general population. Further research is needed on the value of the ABI at specific cutpoints for risk stratification in the context of traditional risk factors.
PMCID: PMC1784111  PMID: 17227586
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113857.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a clinical manifestation of atherosclerosis and mainly refers to elderly patients, having a negative impact on their functionality and quality of life. The findings of previous studies in HIV-infected patients have shown that cardiovascular risk is higher and PAD occurs more frequently than in the general population. There are also contradictory observations. Much less is known about the ankle-brachial index (ABI) value in asymptomatic HIV-infected patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of PAD and ankle-brachial index abnormalities as well as to determine risk factors related to the disease in a group of Polish HIV–positive patients.
Methods and Findings
One hundred and eleven young to middle aged HIV–positive subjects and 40 noninfected subjects were enrolled into the study. Resting ABI measurements were performed and cardiovascular risk was analysed as well. Subgroups were created according to the ABI values: low (PAD), borderline, normal, high and altered ABI. Symptomatic PAD was observed in 2 HIV–positive patients, asymptomatic PAD was not diagnosed. The ABI value is lower and more varied, in 22.5% of the study group altered ABI values were found. Six subjects demonstrated borderline ABI, and 15 high ABI, including >1.4. In the control group no low or very high values were reported. A relation between low ABI and cardiovascular family history and between altered ABI and high–density–lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL–C) level was demonstrated.
In young and middle–aged HIV–positive patients, symptomatic PAD prevalence is comparable to that observed in the overall population. Among asymptomatic patients PAD is not reported. The ABI value in HIV–positive patients is more varied compared to the HIV–negative subjects; the altered ABI shows a strong relation with low HDL–C levels and metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC4264742  PMID: 25503743
The ankle brachial index (ABI) is an objective diagnostic tool that is widely used for the diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease. Despite its usefulness, it is evident within the literature that many practitioners forgo using this screening tool due to limiting factors such as time. There is also no recommended technique for ABI measurement. The purpose of this study is to investigate the perceptions of the use of ABI clinically among Western Australian podiatrists.
This study was a cross sectional survey which evaluated the perceptions of the ABI amongst registered podiatrists in Western Australia. The study sample was obtained from the register of podiatrists listed with the Podiatrists Registration Board of Western Australia. Podiatrists were contacted by telephone and invited to participate in a telephone questionnaire. Chi-square tests were performed to determine if there was a statistically significant relationship between use of the ABI and podiatrists’ profile which included: sector of employment; geographical location; and length of time in practice.
There is a statistically significant relationship (p=0.004) between podiatrists’ profile and the use of ABI, with higher usage in the tertiary hospital setting than in private practice. Length of time spent in practice had no significant impact on ABI usage (p=0.098). Time constraints and lack of equipment were key limiting factors to performing the ABI, and no preferred technique was indicated.
Western Australian podiatrists agree that the ABI is a useful tool for lower limb vascular assessment, however, various factors influence uptake in the clinical setting. This study suggests that a podiatrists’ profile has a significant influence on the use of the ABI, which may be attributed to different patient types across the various settings. The influence of time spent in practice on ABI usage may be attributed to differences in clinical training and awareness of lower limb pathology over time. The authors recommend publication of ‘best practice’ guidelines to ABI performance, as well as further education and financial rebates from health organizations to facilitate increased utility of the ABI based on the findings of this study.
PMCID: PMC3520691  PMID: 22846188
In sub-Saharan Africa, hypertension and stroke are emerging as an important cause of death and disability whereas coronary heart disease appears to still be uncommon. The aim of our study was to measure for the first time in an African population the ankle brachial index which is known to be a good marker of subclinical atheroma and of the risk of future cardiovascular events.
The study was part of the Southern African Stroke Prevention Initiative (SASPI). It comprised a cross-sectional survey conducted in rural north-east South Africa in the sub-district of Agincourt in which the demography of the population has been closely monitored. A stratified sample of 10 villages were selected and within these a random sample was chosen of 526 men and women 35 years and older. Subjects were visited on up to three occasions to be interviewed and have a clinical examination by specially trained nurses. This included assessment of cardiovascular risk factors and measurement of the ankle brachial index (ABI) (ratio of ankle: brachial systolic pressure) using a Doppler ultrasound machine.
The sample comprised 322 subjects in which the mean ABI (lower of either leg) was 1.05 in both men and women. The distribution of ABI was negatively skewed and a low ABI of ≤ 0.9, indicative of significant atheroma and higher cardiovascular risk, increased with age from 3.9% in 40-49 year olds to 39.7% in those 70 years and older. Lower ABI was related to current cigarette smoking (p = 0.02) and higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure (p < 0.01, p = 0.02 respectively) but not total cholesterol levels which were relatively low in this population (mean 4.47 mmol/L).
The distribution of the ABI in this rural African population was very similar to that reported in Western populations and suggests that this population has subclinical peripheral atheroma and is at increased risk of future cardiovascular events, thus providing further evidence of an epidemiological transition towards cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2833984  PMID: 17143129
Cardiovascular disease; subclinical; peripheral arterial disease; ankle brachial index; cross sectional survey; rural; sub-Saharan Africa; South Africa
Peripheral artery tonometry (PAT) is a novel method for assessing arterial stiffness of small digital arteries. Pulse pressure can be regarded as a surrogate of large artery stiffness. When ankle-brachial index (ABI) is calculated using the higher of the two ankle systolic pressures as denominator (ABI-higher), leg perfusion can be reliably estimated. However, using the lower of the ankle pressures to calculate ABI (ABI-lower) identifies more patients with isolated peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in ankle arteries. We aimed to compare the ability of PAT, pulse pressure, and different calculations of ABI to detect atherosclerotic disease in lower extremities. We examined PAT, pulse pressure, and ABI in 66 cardiovascular risk subjects in whom borderline PAD (ABI 0.91 to 1.00) was diagnosed 4 years earlier. Using ABI-lower to diagnose PAD yielded 2-fold higher prevalence of PAD than using ABI-higher. Endothelial dysfunction was diagnosed in 15/66 subjects (23%). In a bivariate correlation analysis, pulse pressure was negatively correlated with ABI-higher (r = −0.347, p = 0.004) and with ABI-lower (r = −0.424, p < 0.001). PAT hyperemic response was not significantly correlated with either ABI-higher (r = −0.148, p = 0.24) or with ABI-lower (r = −0.208, p = 0.095). Measurement of ABI using the lower of the two ankle pressures is an efficient method to identify patients with clinical or subclinical atherosclerosis and worth performing on subjects with pulse pressure above 65 mm Hg. The usefulness of PAT measurement in detecting PAD is vague.
PMCID: PMC3331653  PMID: 22942632
Ankle-brachial index; peripheral arterial disease; hypertension
Atherosclerosis  2007;195(2):248-253.
Increased arterial stiffness has been associated with greater risk of cardiovascular events. We investigated whether aortic augmentation index (AIx), a measure of arterial stiffness and wave reflection, was associated with the ankle-brachial index (ABI), a measure of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
AIx and ABI were measured in a community-based sample of 475 adults without prior history of heart attack or stroke (mean age 59.3 years, 46.5% men). Radial artery pulse waveforms were obtained by applanation tonometry and an ascending aortic pressure waveform derived by a transfer function. AIx is the difference between the first and second systolic peak of the ascending aortic pressure waveform indexed to the central pulse pressure. ABI was measured using a standard protocol, and subjects with non-compressible vessels (ABI >1.5) were excluded from the analyses. Multivariable linear and logistic generalized estimating equations (GEE) analyses were used to assess whether AIx was associated with ABI and ABI <1.00 respectively, independent of conventional risk factors.
Mean (± SD) values were: AIx, 29.3±11.6 %; ABI, 1.12±0.13; 59 (12.4%) participants had an ABI <1.00. Variables associated with a lower ABI (and ABI <1.00) included older age, shorter height, female sex, higher total cholesterol, hypertension medication use, history of smoking, and higher AIx. After adjustment for mean arterial pressure and the above variables, higher AIx remained associated with a lower ABI (P=0.015) and ABI <1.00 (P=0.002). A significant interaction (P=0.007) was present between AIx and age in the prediction of ABI; the (inverse) association of AIx with ABI was stronger in older subjects (>65 years).
AIx, a measure of arterial stiffness and wave reflection, was independently associated with a lower ABI in asymptomatic subjects from the community, and this association was modified by age.
PMCID: PMC3249443  PMID: 17254587
arterial stiffness; ankle-brachial index; arteries
Prediction models to identify healthy individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease have limited accuracy. A low ankle brachial index is an indicator of atherosclerosis and has the potential to improve prediction.
To determine if the ankle brachial index provides information on the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality independently of the Framingham Risk Score and can improve risk prediction.
Data Sources
Relevant studies were identified by collaborators. A search of MEDLINE (1950 to February 2008) and EMBASE (1980 to February 2008), was conducted using common text words for the term ‘ABI’ combined with text words and Medical Subject Headings to capture prospective cohort designs. Review of reference lists and conference proceedings, and correspondence with experts was conducted to identify additional published and unpublished studies.
Study Selection
Studies were included if (1) participants were derived from a general population (2) ankle brachial index was measured at baseline and (3) subjects were followed up to detect total and cardiovascular mortality.
Data Extraction
Pre-specified data on subjects in each selected study were extracted into a combined dataset and an individual participant data meta-analysis conducted on subjects who had no previous history of coronary heart disease.
Sixteen population cohort studies fulfilling the inclusion criteria were included. During 480,325 person years of follow up of 24,955 men and 23,339 women, the risk of death by ankle brachial index had a reverse J shaped distribution with a normal (low risk) ankle brachial index of 1.11 to 1.40. The 10-year cardiovascular mortality (95% CI) in men with a low ankle brachial index (≤ 0.90) was 18.7% (13.3% to 24.1%) and with normal ankle brachial index (1.11 to 1.40) was 4.4% (3.2% to 5.7%), hazard ratio (95% CI) 4.2 (3.5 to 5.4). Corresponding mortalities in women were 12.6% (6.2% to 19.0%) and 4.1% (2.2% to 6.1%), hazard ratio 3.5 (2.4 to 5.1). The hazard ratios remained elevated on adjusting for Framingham Risk Score, 2.9 (2.3 to 3.7) for men and 3.0 (2.0 to 4.4) for women. A low ankle brachial index (≤0.90) was associated with approximately twice the 10-year total mortality, cardiovascular mortality and major coronary event rate compared with the overall rate in each Framingham category. Inclusion of the ankle brachial index in cardiovascular risk stratification using the Framingham Risk Score would result in reclassification of the risk category and modification of treatment recommendations in approximately 19% of men and 36% of women.
Measurement of the ankle brachial index may improve the accuracy of cardiovascular risk prediction beyond the Framingham Risk Score. Development and validation of a new risk equation incorporating the ankle brachial index is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2932628  PMID: 18612117
The PANDORA study has recently examined the prevalence of low ankle brachial index (ABI) in subjects with moderate risk of cardiovascular disease. This sub-analysis of the PANDORA study examines the prevalence of asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease (PAD), as determined by ABI, in Italian subjects presenting with moderate cardiovascular risk, in the absence of diabetes or overt vascular disease.
PANDORA is a non-interventional, cross-sectional study that was performed in 6 European countries, involving subjects with at least one cardiovascular (CV) risk factor. The primary objective was to evaluate the prevalence of asymptomatic PAD using ABI. For this post-hoc sub-analysis, data were extracted for subjects enrolled in Italy, comprising 51.5% (n = 5298) of subjects from the original PANDORA study. Secondary objectives were to establish the prevalence and treatment of CV risk factors.
The mean age was 63.9 years and 22.9% (95% CI 21.7-24.0) of subjects presented with asymptomatic PAD. A range of risk factors comprising smoking, hypertension, low HDL-cholesterol, family history of coronary heart disease and habit of moderate-high alcohol intake were significantly associated with asymptomatic PAD (p < 0.0001). Statin treatment had the lowest incidence in Italian subjects. Furthermore, patients treated with statins were significantly less likely to have asymptomatic PAD than those who were not (p = 0.0001).
Asymptomatic PAD was highly prevalent in Italian subjects, the majority of whom were not candidates for ABI assessment according to current guidelines. Findings from this study suggest that these patients should be carefully examined in clinical practice and ABI measured so that therapeutic interventions known to decrease their CV risk may be offered.
Trial registration number NCT00689377
PMCID: PMC3198689  PMID: 21981988
Peripheral vascular disease; ankle-brachial index; atherosclerosis; risk factors; prevention
Smoking is a well-known risk factor for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Data regarding differences in the prevalence of PAD between sexes are somewhat controversial. In addition, most studies indicate that the prevalence of PAD increases with age in both sexes. In the present study, the effects of sex, age and smoking on the ankle-brachial index (ABI) in a Finnish cardiovascular risk population were investigated.
To investigate the relationship between the ankle-brachial index, and age, sex and smoking in a Finnish population at risk for cardiovascular disease.
All men and women between 45 and 70 years of age living in a rural town (Harjavalta, Finland; total population 7700) were invited to participate in a population survey (Harmonica study). Patients with previously diagnosed diabetes or vascular disease were excluded. In total, 2856 patients were invited to participate in the study. From these subjects, a cardiovascular risk population was screened. Complete data were available from 1028 persons. ABI (the ratio between the posterior tibial or dorsalis pedis artery and brachial artery pressures) was measured, and questionnaires were used to detect smoking status and relevant medical history. Only current smoking status was taken into account.
The mean ABI for the entire study population was 1.10 (range 0.56 to 1.64). Current smokers had a lower mean ABI (1.06; P<0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in ABI values among age groups, although the majority of patients with ABI values below 0.9 were older than 60 years of age. There was no statistically significant difference in ABI between sexes.
As previously reported, the present study shows the significant effect of smoking in the development of PAD. No statistically significant difference was found among age groups, but the tendency was toward lower ABIs in the oldest age groups. Sex had a minimal effect on the ABI.
PMCID: PMC2733029  PMID: 22477327
Age; Ankle-brachial index; Cardiovascular risk; Epidemiology; Sex; Smoking
Mædica  2014;9(3):295-302.
The presence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is associated with higher cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, regardless of gender or its clinical form of presentation (symptomatic or asymptomatic). PAD is considered an independent predictor for cardiovascular mortality, more important for survival than clinical history of coronary artery disease.
The ankle brachial index (ABI) is a sensitive and cost-effective screening tool for PAD. ABI is valuable for screening of peripheral artery disease in patients at risk and for diagnosing the disease in patients who present with lower-extremity symptoms.
Compared to other diagnostic methods, ABI is superior because it is s a simple, noninvasive test, which could be routinely determined in all patients.
Normal cut-off values for ABI are between 0.9 and 1.4. An abnormal ankle-brachial index- below 0.9-is a powerful independent marker of cardiovascular risk.
There is an inverse correlation between ABI values, non-fatal cardiac events (myocardial infarction, stroke and heart failure exacerbation) and mortality (cardiovascular and global), the relation being nonlinear, patients with very low ABI (<0.3) having a significantly higher additional risk. Also, ABI values over 1.3-1.4 correlate with major adverse cardiovascular events.
Therefore, ABI can be considered a generalized atherosclerotic predictor, identifying patients at high risk for developing cardio- or cerebrovascular events and should be incorporated into routine clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4306002
To evaluate the accuracy of the ankle brachial index (ABI) measured with the SCVL® (“screening cardiovascular lab”; GenNov, Paris, France), an automated device with synchronized arm and ankle cuffs with an automatic ABI calculation.
Patients were consecutively included in a cardiovascular prevention unit if they presented with at least two cardiovascular risk factors. ABI measurements were made using the SCVL, following a synchronized assessment of brachial and ankle systolic pressure. These values were compared to the ABI obtained with the usual Doppler-assisted method.
We included 157 patients. Mean age was 59.1 years, 56.8% had hypertension, 22.3% had diabetes mellitus, and 17.6% were current smokers. An abnormal ABI was observed in 17.2% with the SCVL and in 16.2% with the Doppler. The prevalence rates of an abnormal ABI by patient measured with each device, ie, 15.7% (confidence interval [CI] 0.95: [11.8; 20.4]) or 14.3% (CI 0.95: [10.7; 18.9]), did not differ. The coefficient of variation of Doppler and SCVL measures was 15.8% and 15.1%, respectively. The regression line between the two measurement methods was statistically significant. The value-to-value comparison also shows a difference of mean equal to 0.010 (CI 0.95: [−0.272; 0.291]) (r = −0.055). Reproducibility of ABI measurements with the SCVL showed a difference of mean equal to 0.009 (CI 0.95: [−0.203; 0.222]), without heteroscedasticity (r = −0.003).
The SCVL is a fast and easy to use automated oscillometric device for the determination of ABI. The use of this two-synchronized-cuff device correlates well with the gold standard Doppler ultrasound method and is reproducible. The SCVL may ease the screening for peripheral arterial disease in routine medical practice.
PMCID: PMC3346267  PMID: 22566745
ankle brachial index; automated device; peripheral arterial disease screening
Lower extremity peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a marker of widespread atherosclerosis. Individuals with PAD, most of whom do not show typical PAD symptoms ('asymptomatic' patients), are at increased risk of cardiovascular ischaemic events. American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines recommend that individuals with asymptomatic lower extremity PAD should be identified by measurement of ankle-brachial index (ABI). However, despite its associated risk, PAD remains under-recognised by clinicians and the general population and office-based ABI detection is still poorly-known and under-used in clinical practice. The Prevalence of peripheral Arterial disease in patients with a non-high cardiovascular disease risk, with No overt vascular Diseases nOR diAbetes mellitus (PANDORA) study has a primary aim of assessing the prevalence of lower extremity PAD through ABI measurement, in patients at non-high cardiovascular risk, with no overt cardiovascular diseases (including symptomatic PAD), or diabetes mellitus. Secondary objectives include documenting the prevalence and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors and the characteristics of both patients and physicians as possible determinants for PAD under-diagnosis.
PANDORA is a non-interventional, cross-sectional, pan-European study. It includes approximately 1,000 primary care participating sites, across six European countries (Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland). Investigator and patient questionnaires will be used to collect both right and left ABI values at rest, presence of cardiovascular disease risk factors, current pharmacological treatment, and determinants for PAD under-diagnosis.
The PANDORA study will provide important data to estimate the prevalence of asymptomatic PAD in a population otherwise classified at low or intermediate risk on the basis of current risk scores in a primary care setting.
Trial registration number
Clinical Identifier: NCT00689377.
PMCID: PMC2927475  PMID: 20687927
European Spine Journal  2011;21(6):1165-1170.
Claudication is a typical symptom of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). Differential diagnosis of PAD and LSS is often difficult due to the subjective natures of symptoms and atypical signs. The authors aimed to determine the usefulness of ankle-brachial index (ABI) measurement for the differential diagnosis of PAD and LSS when the etiology of claudication is uncertain.
Forty-two consecutive patients who had been referred by spine surgeons to a lower extremity vascular surgeon for atypical claudication were retrospectively analyzed. Atypical claudication was defined as claudication not caused by PAD, as determined by clinical manifestations, or by LSS, as determined by MR imaging. A final diagnosis of PAD was established by CT angiography (CTA) and of LSS by excluding PAD. Diagnostic validity of ABI for PAD in atypical presentation was assessed.
Sixty-two legs of 42 atypical claudication patients were analyzed. Mean patient age was 65.8 ± 8.2 years (38–85) and 29 (69.0%) had diabetes mellitus. Mean ABI was 0.73 ± 0.14 (0.53–0.94) in the PAD group and 0.92 ± 0.18 (0.52–1.10) in the LSS group (P < 0.001). Of the 33 legs with a low ABI (ABI < 0.9), 29 legs were diagnosed as true positives for PAD by CTA and 4 were false positives, and of the 29 legs with a high ABI, 5 were false negatives and 24 were true negatives. The sensitivity and specificity of ABI for the diagnosis of PAD in patients with atypical claudication were 85.3 and 85.7%, respectively, and its positive and negative predictive values were 87.9 and 82.8%.
ABI is a recommended screening test for the differential diagnosis of lower leg claudication when clinical symptoms are atypical.
PMCID: PMC3366123  PMID: 22105308
Claudication; Peripheral arterial disease; Lumbar spinal stenosis; Ankle-brachial index; Validity
Diabetes Care  2012;35(8):1731-1735.
In the general population, a low ankle-brachial index (ABI) (<0.9) is strongly associated with (cardiovascular) mortality. However, the association between the ABI and mortality may be weaker in individuals with diabetes, as ankle pressures may be elevated by medial arterial calcification and arterial stiffening, which occur more frequently in diabetes. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the association between ABI and mortality in individuals without and with diabetes.
We studied the associations between ABI and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in 624 individuals from the Hoorn study, a population-based cohort of 50- to 75-year-old individuals (155 with diabetes and 469 without) followed for a median period of 17.2 years. Data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards models.
During the follow-up period, 289 of 624 (46.3%) participants died (97 of 155 with and 192 of 469 without diabetes and 52 of 65 with and 237 of 559 without ABI <0.9): 85 (29.4%) of CVD (30 of 155 with and 55 of 469 without diabetes and 20 of 65 with and 65 of 559 without ABI <0.9). A low ABI was strongly associated with cardiovascular mortality (relative risk 2.57 [95% CI 1.50–4.40]) and all-cause mortality (2.02 [1.47–2.76]), after adjustment for Framingham risk factors. The associations of the ABI with mortality did not differ between individuals without and with diabetes for cardiovascular (Pinteraction = 0.45) or all-cause (Pinteraction = 0.63) mortality.
In the Hoorn Study, associations between ABI and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality were similar in individuals without and with diabetes. Future studies should investigate, in both individuals without and with diabetes, whether measurement of ABI can be used to guide treatment decisions.
PMCID: PMC3402264  PMID: 22699294
Atherosclerosis  2013;230(1):125-130.
Though being physically active has associated with a healthier ankle-brachial index (ABI) in observational studies, ABI usually does not change with exercise training in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). Less is known about the effect of exercise training on ABI in patients without PAD but at high risk due to the presence of type 2 diabetes (T2DM).
Participants (n=140) with uncomplicated T2DM, and without known cardiovascular disease or PAD, aged 40–65 years, were randomized to supervised aerobic and resistance training 3 times per week for 6 months or to a usual care control group. ABI was measured before and after the intervention.
Baseline ABI was 1.02±0.02 in exercisers and 1.03±0.01 in controls (p=0.57). At 6 months, exercisers vs. controls improved ABI by 0.04±0.02 vs. −0.03±0.02 (p=0.001). This change was driven by an increase in ankle pressures (p<0.01) with no change in brachial pressures (p=0.747). In subgroup analysis, ABI increased in exercisers vs. controls among those with baseline ABI<1.0 (0.14±0.03 vs. 0.02±0.02, p=0.004), but not in those with a baseline ABI≥1.0 (p=0.085). The prevalence of ABI between 1.0–1.3 increased from 63% to 78% in exercisers and decreased from 62% to 53% in controls. Increased ABI correlated with decreased HbA1c, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, but the effect of exercise on ABI change remained significant after adjustment for these changes (β=0.061, p=0.004).
These data suggest a possible role for exercise training in the prevention or delay of PAD in T2DM, particularly among those starting with an ABI <1.0.
PMCID: PMC3775271  PMID: 23958264
exercise; peripheral artery disease; ankle-brachial index; type 2 diabetes
American heart journal  2012;164(4):585-590.e4.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) increases cardiovascular risk in many patient populations. The risks associated with an abnormal ankle-brachial index (ABI) in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and stable coronary artery disease (CAD) have not been well described with respect to thresholds and types of cardiovascular events.
We examined 2368 patients in the Bypass Angioplasty Revascularization Investigation 2 Diabetes (BARI 2D) trial that underwent ABIassessment at baseline. Death and major cardiovascular events (death, myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke) during follow-up (average 4.3 years) were assessed across the ABI spectrum and by categorizedABI: low (≤0.90), normal (0.91–1.3), high (>1.3), or non-compressible.
A total of 12,568 person-years were available for mortality analysis. During follow-up, 316 patients died and 549 suffered major cardiovascular events. After adjustment for potential confounders, with normal ABI as the referent group, a low ABI conferred an increased risk of death (relative risk (RR) 1.6; C.I. 1.2, 2.2; p=.0005) and major cardiovascular events (RR 1.4; C.I. 1.1, 1.7; p=.004). Patients with a high ABI had similar outcomes as patients with a normal ABI, but risk again increased in patients with a non-compressible ABI with a risk of death (RR1.9; C.I. 1.3, 2.8; p=.001) and major cardiovascular event (RR 1.5, C.I. 1.1, 2.1; p=.01).
In patients with CAD and T2D ABI screening and identification of ABI abnormalities including a low ABI (<1.0) or non-compressible artery provide incremental prognostic information.
PMCID: PMC3474978  PMID: 23067918
coronary disease; diabetes mellitus; peripheral vascular disease
Annals of Vascular Diseases  2011;4(2):79-86.
Objective: The objective of this study was to use non-invasive laser Doppler flowmeter to measure changes in blood flow in peripheral vessels in the legs before and after stress induced by leg elevation stress test and investigate correlations with the ankle-brachial pressure index (ABI).
Methods: Subjects included 28 patients over 20 years of age (mean, 73 years) who reported chiefly of leg symptoms such as intermittent claudication, numbness, chills, or cramps had been examined at the study institution, and agreed to participate in the study. The ABI of both legs was measured, and patients were divided into two groups: low ABI (ABI ≤0.9) and normal ABI (ABI ≥0.9). Blood flow in the big toe was measured using a box-type laser Doppler flowmeter before, during, and after leg-elevation stress. Amplitude of the recorded waveform and changes in blood flow were compared.
Results: Average ABI was 1.09 ± 0.10 in the normal ABI group (33 legs) and 0.68 ± 0.17 in the low ABI group (21 legs). Amplitude before and during stress was significantly smaller in the low ABI group than in the normal ABI group (p<0.01), and there was a significant correlation with ABI before and during stresses (r= 0.4606, r= 0.5048, respectively; p<0.05). Change in blood flow during stress was significantly lower in the low ABI group than in the normal ABI group (p<0.05). There was a significant correlation between change in blood flow during stress and ABI in both groups (r= 0.5073; p<0.05). There was also a significant correlation between change in blood flow and change in amplitude in both groups (r= 0.5477; p<0.05).
Conclusion: Results of this study show, that comparing amplitude and change in blood flow before and after leg extension and elevation stress, there was a correlation between change in blood flow and amplitude, and ABI during stress. A box-type laser Doppler flowmeter may provide a means of screening for peripheral arterial disease.
PMCID: PMC3595823  PMID: 23555434
peripheral arterial disease; ankle-brachial pressure index; laser Doppler flowmeter; intermittent claudication; lumbar spinal stenosis
We aimed to determine the relationships between resting left ventricular (LV) wall motion abnormalities (WMAs), aortic plaque, and PAD in a community cohort. 1726 Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort participants (806 males, 65±9 years) underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance with quantification of aortic plaque volume and assessment of regional LV systolic function. Claudication, lower extremity revascularization, and ankle-brachial index (ABI) were recorded at Examination 7. WMAs were associated with greater aortic plaque burden, decreased ABI, and claudication in age- and sex-adjusted analyses (all p<0.001), which were not significant after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors. In age- and sex-adjusted analyses, both the presence (p<0.001) and volume of aortic plaque were associated with decreased ABI (p<0.001). After multivariable adjustment, ABI≤0.9 or prior revascularization was associated with a three-fold odds of aortic plaque (p=0.0083). Plaque volume significantly increased with decreasing ABI in multivariable-adjusted analyses (p<0.0001). In this free-living population, associations of WMAs with aortic plaque burden and clinical measures of PAD were attenuated after adjustment for coronary heart disease risk factors. Aortic plaque volume and ABI remained strongly negatively correlated after multivariable adjustment. Our findings suggest that the association between coronary heart disease and non-coronary atherosclerosis is explained by cardiovascular risk factors. Aortic atherosclerosis and PAD remain strongly associated after multivariable adjustment suggesting shared mechanisms beyond those captured by traditional risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3249244  PMID: 21708875
Aortic atherosclerosis; peripheral arterial disease; left ventricular wall motion abnormality; epidemiology; MRI

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