A patient is seen at the clinic for a routine physical examination. After the patient is assessed for evidence of peripheral vascular disease, the nurse explains that which of the following tests is typically used to assist in the diagnosis?

Ankle brachial pressure index

Explanation

• The ankle brachial index (ABI) is the blood pressure ratio between the lower legs and the arms. Blood pressure in the lower legs is normally higher than the arms, and abnormalities indicate narrowing of arteries. Clinical findings that may suggest the presence of PVD includes a history of angina with activity, intermittent claudication, and abnormal (weak or absent) pedal pulses  

• The formula for ABI is the systolic blood pressure of the ankle (measured at the dorsalis pedis or posterior tibial arteries) divided by the systolic pressure in the arms. It is measured on both sides 

• A ratio under 1.0 indicates peripheral vascular disease 

• Incorrect: Allen's test is used to assess blood supply to the hand 

• Incorrect: Cardiac stress tests are used to measure the heart's ability to respond to stress 

• Incorrect: Echocardiogram evaluates the structure and function of the heart muscles, but does not tell if there is peripheral vascular disease present 

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