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Preliminary study to investigate the normal range of Ankle Brachial Pressure Index in young adults

Authors

  • Stuart Male BSc, RN,

  • Alison Coull MSc, BN, RGN, PgCTHE,

  • Tricia Murphy-Black PhD, RN, RM, RCNT


Alison Coull
Department of Nursing and Midwifery
University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA
UK
Telephone: 01786 466382
E-mail:a.f.coull@stir.ac.uk

Abstract

Aim.  The aim of this study was to find the normal range of Ankle Brachial Pressure Index (ABPI) for healthy adults in the 20–40-year age group. The hypothesis was: there is no difference between the accepted normal value of ABPI (1·00) and the observed value of ABPI in healthy adults in the 20–40-year age group.

Background.  Doppler ultrasound and ABPI calculations are used in the assessment of lower limb vascularity. Ankle Brachial Pressure Index is used as an indicator for the choice of nursing options for the treatment of chronic leg ulcers. Little research has been done to establish what the normal range of ABPI is in young healthy adults. This information has practical significance to the treatment of young adults who are prone to present with leg ulcers such as i.v. drug users.

Method.  An observational survey was conducted with 24 healthy adults in the 20–40-year age range (who did not have a history of i.v. drug use).

Results.  The study found that the ABPI ranged from 1·05 to 1·25 (mean = 1·14; SD 0·06). In addition, the study also found that there was a negative correlation between ABPI and observed brachial systolic pressure.

Conclusion.  A ‘normal’ ABPI should not be considered a fixed figure (1·00) and that ABPI may be dependant on an individual's blood pressure and possibly other factors.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Ankle Brachial Pressure Index is a routine procedure undertaken when assessing the vascular supply to the lower legs. The results summarized in this paper will be useful to clinicians attempting to interpret ABPI results in young people.

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