Calculating a patient’s ankle-brachial pressure index (ABPI) is a simple, low-cost and non-invasive way of detecting peripheral artery disease in the lower limbs. Atherosclerosis is the most frequent cause of peripheral artery disease and the patient’s atherosclerotic burden is reflected by the degree to which their ABPI is reduced. Measuring ABPI therefore provides a useful window into what is happening in the cardiovascular system and an additional prognostic tool to that provided by more frequently used surrogate markers of cardiovascular risk. Targeted testing of ABPI for people most at risk of developing peripheral artery disease and its complications, in combination with routine cardiovascular risk assessments, will lead to earlier and more appropriate treatment of all types of atherosclerotic disease.
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