Bill had survived a heart attack in the past, but when his legs stated to give trouble, the problem was found to be a blocked artery in his left leg.
He thought the pain in his left leg when walking up hills was ‘just arthritis’. He had had similar pains in the chest five years ago, which led to his having coronary bypass surgery. To his surprise, a routine test for vascular disease at Cardiac Dynamics gave the answer in a few minutes. The main artery to the left leg was severely blocked and the right leg, which had given him no trouble, was partially obstructed as well.
The test, known as the Ankle-Brachial Index, or ABI, derives a value by comparing blood pressure in the lower legs with that in the upper arms.
Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)
At Cardiac Dynamics, use of ABI technology could lead to earlier detection of ‘circulation’ problems. The reality is, if there is plaque (or cholesterol) build-up in one set of arteries, then a person is at high risk of blockages in other vital arteries to the heart or the brain. Thus, early plaque detection and management may help prevent those persons suffering heart attacks or strokes.
A US study showed that about 6 % of adults aged over forty had peripheral arterial disease, which is a significant narrowing in those arteries carrying blood to the limbs. But only a one-in-three of these patients received treatment.
The number would be similar in Australia with approximately one-in-ten of Cardiac Dynamics’s high risk patients having the condition. Often these patients are not detected because they don’t have symptoms and typically the first ‘warning‘ sign is an actual stroke or heart attack.
Everyone at risk of cardiovascular disease such as diabetes, elevated blood pressure or high cholesterol, or smokers, should be screened.
In Bill’s case, he had a stent put in the artery in his left leg to widen and open up the vessel, and so improve the blood flow. He is now walking five kms, three times a week, without pain – and enjoying it!
He is motivated to resume his regular medication, the ‘cardiac cocktail’, to prevent any recurrence. He had stopped taking medication because he felt well, and had no symptoms- without realising that treating a risk is better than surviving a reality.
ABI “Action Before Illness “
If you feel you have a problem with circulation or are at high risk, we recommend that you undertake an Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) test. In so doing, you are invoking “Action Before Illness”.