Ankle/Brachial Indices (ABI) Ultrasound

Your doctor has requested an ultrasound of your groin, arm and ankles to analyze the blood flow in your arteries.

Ultrasound is a procedure that uses sound waves to "see" inside your body. This procedure is performed to evaluate possible narrowing of the blood vessels, resulting in symptoms including

  • Leg pain when walking
  • Resting leg pain
  • Foot, ankle, heel or toe ulcers
  • Skin discoloration

At the Cedars-Sinai S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center, we have a specialized team of physicians, nurses, and technologists who are experts in ultrasound radiology.

Before Your Exam

There is no preparation for this procedure.

If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.

Please consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass any time you may have to wait.

Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.

Above: an image from an ankle/brachial indices (ABI) ultrasound, which compares the blood flow in your ankle with the blood pressure in your arm. The image shows blood flow in the right common femoral artery.

During Your Exam

The vascular technologist will explain your exam and answer any questions you may have.

Your procedure will be performed with you lying on the exam table on your back with your hands at your sides or on your stomach.

The technologist will apply a warm gel to your groin area, ankles, legs and arms.

A transducer, a small device similar to a microphone, will be placed over various locations on your ankles and legs.

Additionally, blood pressure readings will be taken of your ankles and your arm. You will not feel any pain; however you will feel mild pressure from the blood pressure cuff and the transducer.

Sound waves will bounce off the blood that is moving in your arteries (tubes that carry blood from your heart). This creates "echoes." The echoes are reflected back to the transducer.

A television monitor shows images as the transducer converts the echoes into electronic signals. These images may be viewed immediately or photographed for further study.

You may hear unusual sounds as the technologist views and records the blood flowing through the veins and arteries in your legs.

Your exam will take approximately 15 minutes; however, in some cases you may be asked to do some exercises which will take additional time. The exercises may take 30 minutes or more.

After Your Exam

The technologist will give you a towel to clean up with and direct you to the restroom, if necessary.

Your study will be reviewed by an imaging physician and the results sent to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.

If you have problems related to your procedure, please call 310-423-8000.

To request a copy of your report, call 310-423-8000, option 2 or submit an online request.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 310-423-8000.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake and West Hollywood.