Heterogeneity of Ankle-Brachial Indices in Patients Undergoing Revascularization for Critical Limb Ischemia

Devraj Sukul, Scott F. Grey, Peter K. Henke, Hitinder S. Gurm, P. Michael Grossman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objectives This study sought to describe the distribution of pre-intervention treated-limb ankle-brachial indices (ABIs) among patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI) undergoing percutaneous vascular intervention (PVI) or surgical revascularization (SR). Background CLI is diagnosed by the presence of rest pain, tissue ulceration, or gangrene due to chronic arterial insufficiency. It is unclear what fraction of patients with suspected CLI have severe peripheral artery disease (PAD) on noninvasive functional testing. Methods The study included patients who underwent lower extremity revascularization for CLI in a multicenter registry in Michigan from January 2012 through June 2015. ABIs were classified as normal (ABI: 0.91 to 1.40), mild-moderate (ABI: 0.41 to 0.90), and severe (ABI: ≤0.40). Pre- and post-intervention Peripheral Artery Questionnaire summary scores were assessed in a subset of patients. Results Among 10,756 patients with signs or symptoms of CLI, 9,113 (84.7%) underwent PVI and 1,643 (15.3%) underwent SR. ABIs were recorded in 4,972 (54.6%) PVI and 1,012 (61.6%) SR patients. Patients undergoing PVI had higher ABIs than those undergoing SR, with substantial variation in both groups (PVI: 0.72 ± 0.29 vs. SR: 0.61 ± 0.29; p < 0.001). Nearly a quarter of patients with compressible arteries had normal ABIs (24.0%), whereas severe PAD was uncommon (16.5%). A significant improvement in Peripheral Artery Questionnaire scores was noted after intervention across all ABI categories. Conclusions Among patients undergoing revascularization for CLI in contemporary practice, the authors found substantial heterogeneity in pre-intervention ABIs. The disconnect between ABI results and clinical diagnosis calls into question the utility of ABIs in this population and suggests the need for standardization of functional PAD testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2307-2316
Number of pages10
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Interventions
Issue number22
StatePublished - 27 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • ankle-brachial index
  • critical limb ischemia
  • percutaneous vascular intervention
  • peripheral artery disease
  • surgical bypass graft


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