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Variability of ankle and brachial systolic pressures in the measurement of atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease.
  1. F G Fowkes,
  2. E Housley,
  3. C C Macintyre,
  4. R J Prescott,
  5. C V Ruckley
  1. Department of Community Medicine, University of Edinburgh.

    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to determine the variability of measurements of ankle and brachial systolic pressures and ankle brachial ratios in order to assess their suitability for use in epidemiological studies of arterial disease in the lower limbs. Thirty-six subjects had repeat measurements taken by four observers on two separate days using a Doppler probe and random zero sphygmomanometer. The variability in the measurement of ankle systolic pressure was comparable to that for brachial systolic pressure. The 95% confidence limits of one measurement of the ankle brachial ratio was estimated to be +/- 16%, reducing to +/- 10% for the mean of four measurements taken by two observers on two days. Analysis of variance indicated that the variability in the measurement of ankle brachial ratios attributable to observers, days, timing of measurements on the same day, and repeat measurements was considerably less than the "biological" variability between subjects and between legs. These results suggest that repeatability of the ankle brachial ratio is such that a single measurement is suitable for most epidemiological studies of atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease.

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