Information for the public

NICE has said automated ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI) measurement devices should not be routinely offered to people with leg ulcers to detect peripheral arterial disease. More research on the tests is recommended.

Treatment for leg ulcers usually involves compression therapy with bandages or stockings. But, before you’re offered compression therapy, you’ll need to have a test to check if you have peripheral arterial disease. In this condition, narrowing or blockage of the arteries reduces blood flow to the legs, which can be worsened by compression therapy. The test checks blood flow in your limbs using a handheld (manual) device to measure ABPI (the difference in blood pressure between the ankle and wrist).

Measuring ABPI using automated devices may be quicker and easier than manual tests. This may allow ABPI measurement to be done by a wider range of healthcare staff, meaning leg ulcer treatment might be started more quickly for some people. But it is not clear how well the automated tests can detect peripheral arterial disease or if they’ll shorten the time to leg ulcer treatment. This is why more research is recommended.

Information and support

The NHS webpages on leg ulcers and peripheral arterial disease may be a good place to find out more.

The Lindsay Leg Club Foundation (01473 749 565) can give you advice and support.

You can also get support from your local Healthwatch.

NICE is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information or advice provided by these organisations.

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