Panel Wavers on Screening for Poor Leg Circulation
Evidence not found to support use of 'ankle brachial index' to gauge heart risks
Another expert, however, said the task force's recommendation is at odds with current guidelines from other professional organizations.
"This new systemic evidence review by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which tends to be very conservative in its review and interpretation of evidence, concludes that the ankle brachial index may be of limited value and there is need for further studies," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, an AHA spokesman and professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
However, Fonarow said, a guideline from the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association recommends that "measurement of ankle brachial index is reasonable for cardiovascular risk assessment in asymptomatic [symptomless] adults at intermediate risk."
Peripheral artery disease is usually treated with blood pressure medications and cholesterol-lowering drugs. Some patients, however, may need minimally invasive treatment or surgery to open their narrow arteries. Left untreated, peripheral artery can lead to gangrene and amputation. The condition affects about 8 million Americans, according to the heart association.