Pitfalls in the ankle-brachial index and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity

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Background: The ankle-brachial index (ABI) and pulse wave velocity (PWV) are indices of atherosclerosis and arterial stiffness. The Japan-made measuring devices of those indices have spread widely because of their convenience and the significance of the parameters. However, studies that comprehensively discuss the various pitfalls in using these indices are not available. Methods: This study presents several representative pitfalls in using the ABI and brachial-ankle PWV (baPWV) by showing the result sheets of the device, “the Vascular Profiler”. Furthermore, some considerations when utilizing these indices in the future are also discussed. Results: Several diseases such as arteriosclerosis obliterans (ASO), arterial calcification in the lower limb, arterial stenosis in the right upper-limb, aortic valve diseases, arterial stenosis in the upper-limb of the contralateral side of the hemodialysis access, are the representative pitfalls when evaluating ABI and baPWV. Moreover, a measurement error is found to actually exist. Furthermore, same phenomena are considered most likely to occur when using other similar indices and devices. Conclusion: The ABI and baPWV are the useful and significant biomarkers. Nevertheless, caution is sometimes necessary when interpreting them. Moreover, rigorous patient exclusion criteria should be considered when using those indices in the severely conditioned patient population. And the results of this study can be applied to enhance the literacy using other indices, such as the cardio-ankle vascular index and other similar devices.




Ato, D. (2018). Pitfalls in the ankle-brachial index and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity. Vascular Health and Risk Management, 14, 41–62. https://doi.org/10.2147/VHRM.S159437

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