Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of the lower limb is common, with prevalence of both symptomatic and asymptomatic disease estimated at 13% in the over 50 age group. Symptomatic PAD affects about 5% of individuals in Western populations between the ages of 55 and 74 years. The most common initial symptom of PAD is muscle pain on exercise that is relieved by rest and is attributed to reduced lower limb blood flow due to atherosclerotic disease (intermittent claudication). The ankle brachial index (ABI) is widely used by a variety of healthcare professionals, including specialist nurses, physicians, surgeons and podiatrists working in primary and secondary care settings, to assess signs and symptoms of PAD. As the ABI test is non-invasive and inexpensive and is in widespread clinical use, a systematic review of its diagnostic accuracy in people presenting with leg pain suggestive of PAD is highly relevant to routine clinical practice.