Use of ankle-brachial pressure index to assess patient suitability for lower limb compression

Matthew Cain, Karen Ousey, Leanne Atkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Compression therapy is a safe, effective treatment for lower leg conditions such as lymphatic insufficiency and venous hypertension. The most common method of arterial assessment is the calculation of a patient's ankle-brachial pressure index (ABPI). The need for ABPI is highlighted in many best practice statement and local policies. ABPI compares the arterial flow of the arms and the legs, providing a ratio used to determine the presence and severity of peripheral artery disease and assess whether a patient is suitable for compression therapy. AIM: This study critically reviews and analyses findings from contemporary literature with the aim of evaluating the effectiveness of the ABPI screening tool. METHOD: A structured literature review using a narrative approach was carried out. RESULTS: Four studies were identified for inclusion, which involved medical, nursing and allied health professional staff in primary and secondary care, with a total of 51 patients. Analysis generated eight themes: appropriateness of the ABPI tool; clinician education; referral process; access to appropriate equipment; lack of time to conduct the assessment; competence; associated costs; and role definition. CONCLUSION: It is important to undertake a holistic assessment of the patient, incorporating ABPI assessment where not contraindicated. Further research to explore patient experience and safety when assessing a patient's suitability for lower limb compression therapy is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S6-S14
Number of pages6
JournalBritish journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022


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