Time and reliability issues associated with automatic vs. manual measurements of Ankle to Brachial pressure Index (ABI) following heavy load exercise

Published:October 29, 2014DOI:



      Ankle to brachial index after heavy load exercise is the most accurate way of diagnosing minor arterial lesions in athletes, such as endofibrosis. The reliability and practical aspects of ankle to brachial index measurements after heavy-load exercise have not been studied. The purpose of this study was to analyze the interest of oscillometric automatic vs. manual Doppler measurements, for the calculation of ankle to brachial index, after heavy-load exercise in athletes.


      Prospective single-center study.


      Fifteen healthy trained athletes performed an incremental test twice. Ankle to brachial index measurements were performed at Rest, as soon as possible after exercise (Rec-0), and then started at the 3rd minute of recovery (Rec-3), by two operators using each one of the two ankle to brachial index measurement methods.


      Mean times for automatic vs. manual ankle to brachial availability were 99 ± 18 s vs. 113 ± 25 s (p = 0.005) and 44 ± 25 s vs. 53 ± 12 s (p = 0.001) respectively at Rec-0 and Rec-3. Ankle to brachial index values from the two methods were highly correlated (r = 0.89). Mean absolute differences of automatic vs. manual ankle to brachial values from test–retest were 0.04 ± 0.05 vs. 0.08 ± 0.08 (p > 0.05) and 0.07 ± 0.05 vs. 0.09 ± 0.10 (p > 0.05) at Rest and Rec-0.


      Automatic method allows obtaining faster and simultaneously post-exercise ankle to brachial index measurement compare to the manual Doppler. This time issue does not result in a significant change in absolute ankle to brachial index values, nor in the absolute differences of these in test–retest. Nevertheless, the test–retest variability of post-exercise ankle to brachial index results seems smaller with the automatic than the manual method.


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