ABI and Segmental Pressure

What is ABI and Segmental Pressure?

A segmental pressure exam evaluates the blood flow in your arms or legs. The exam uses blood pressure cuffs and ultrasound sound waves to create readings; it does not use X-ray or radiation. A common type of segmental pressure exam is also called an ABI (ankle brachial index). Your provider may use either terminology. The test identifies areas of reduced blood flow and possible blocked blood vessels called arteries.

Before the Exam

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. For the best experience please properly prepare for your appointment:

  • No special preparation is required. You may eat and drink as normal.
  • If you had vascular surgery outside of CentraCare, please review your history as location of stents and bypass grafts is very important.
  • Do not bring children with you to your appointment. For their safety children are not allowed to accompany you in the exam room. Staff are unable to monitor children.

During the Exam

  • A registered sonographer will perform the exam.
  • You will be asked a series of questions that pertain to your heart and vascular health and prior surgery.
  • You will lie on your back on an exam table.
  • Blood pressure cuffs are placed on both your arms and legs. If you have a limb restriction, please inform the sonographer at the beginning of your exam.
  • The blood pressure cuffs will inflate and deflate at various times during the exam. Some areas of the leg may experience discomfort when the blood pressure cuff inflates which will subside once deflated.
  • A Doppler device will be used to listen to blood flow in different areas of your arms and legs.
  • Multiple readings and measurements will be recorded.
  • Occasionally your provider will ask for a type of Segmental Pressure test that requires you to walk on a treadmill. The sonographer will guide you through this process.
  • It takes approximately 30-60 minutes to complete the exam.

After the Exam

  • You may resume your normal diet and activity immediately following the exam.
  • A radiologist reviews the measurements and prepares a report for your provider. The results of your exam will be given to you by the ordering clinic.
  • Follow-up care is a key part of your health. Be sure to make and go to all appointments and call your primary care provider if you have questions.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

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