Borderline Arterial Pressure Linked to Mobility Loss

Observed in patients with peripheral arterial disease

TUESDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with peripheral arterial disease and even a borderline or low normal ankle-brachial index (ABI), a measure of relative arterial pressures in the lower and upper extremities, are at higher risk of later mobility loss, according to a study published in the March 24 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Mary M. McDermott, M.D., from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues studied the association between low ABI -- a ratio of systolic pressures in the lower and upper extremities -- and functional decline in 666 patients, where 412 had mild-to-severe peripheral arterial disease.

After a follow-up of five years and after adjusting for confounding variables, the researchers found that the rates of mobility loss were higher for patients with lower ABI values. Even patients with borderline ABI (0.90 to 0.99) had higher rates of mobility loss and higher rates of becoming unable to walk continuously for six minutes, and patients with low normal ABI (1.00 to 1.09) also had higher rates of mobility loss. The study notes that the clinically important ABI threshold is normally considered less than 0.90.

"At five-year follow-up, persons who have borderline and low normal ABI values are at higher risk for mobility loss compared with persons who do not have peripheral arterial disease," McDermott and colleagues conclude. "Participants with borderline ABI values are also at higher risk for becoming unable to walk for 6 min continuously at five-year follow-up," according to the study.

Summit Doppler Systems, Inc. provided support for the editorial.

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