Lower limb and ABI assessments are recommended for patients at risk of decreased circulation and sensation. This diagnostic tool helps to identify and prevent complications such as wounds and ulcerations and to determine compression stocking suitability.
The lower limb assessment consists of a visual and hands-on inspection of the lower leg, ankle and foot. Included in the assessment are color, shape, temperature, skin condition, swelling, varicosities, toenail quality, foot abnormalities and a sensation test. As well, a relevant medical and surgical history intake and identifying risk factors round out the assessment.
The Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) component is a simple test that compares the blood pressure in the upper and lower limbs. A health care provider will calculate the ABI by dividing the blood pressure in an artery of the ankle by the blood pressure in an artery of the arm. A doppler is used to listen for and assess the quality of arterial pulses and pressures.