Utility of Toe-brachial Index for Diagnosis of Peripheral Artery Disease

Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Soonchunhyang University Gumi Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Gumi, Korea.
Archives of Plastic Surgery 05/2012; 39(3):227-31. DOI: 10.5999/aps.2012.39.3.227
Source: PubMed


The ankle brachial pressure index (ABI) is a simple, useful method for diagnosing peripheral artery disease (PAD). Although the ABI is an objective diagnostic method, it has limited reliability in certain scenarios. The aim of the present study was to determine the accuracy and reliability of the toe brachial index (TBI) as a diagnostic tool for detecting stenosis in PAD, associated with normal or low ABI values.
ABI and TBI values were measured in 15 patients with diabetic gangrene who were suspected of having lower extremity arterial insufficiency. The ABI and TBI values were measured using a device that allowed the simultaneous measurement of systolic blood pressure in the upper and lower extremities. In addition, the ABI and TBI values were compared pre- and post-angiography.
Patients with an ABI of 0.9-1.3 showed almost no difference between the 2 measurements. The patients with TBI >0.6 had no arterial insufficiency. The patients with TBI <0.6 required vascular intervention with ballooning. After the angiography, the gangrenous wounds decreased in size more rapidly than they did prior to the intervention.
Our findings suggest that TBI is the method of choice for evaluating lower limb perfusion disorders. This result requires further studies of TBI in a larger number of patients. Future long-term studies should therefore evaluate the utility of TBI as a means of screening for PAD and the present findings should be regarded as preliminary outcomes.

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    • "One test that is currently used to overcome the problem of calcifications is to measure toe systolic pressure and calculate the ratio between it and brachial systolic pressure (the toe/brachial index, TBI) [61]. This is possible because toe vessels are generally free of calcifications. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) can be diagnosed noninvasively by segmental blood pressure measurement and calculating an ankle-brachial index (ABI) or toe-brachial index (TBI). The ABI is known to be unreliable in patients with vascular stiffness and fails to detect the early phase of arteriosclerotic development. The toe vessels are less susceptible to vessel stiffness, which makes the TBI useful. However, the diagnostic limits used in guidelines, clinical settings, and experimental studies vary substantially. This review provides an overview of the evidence supporting the clinical use of the TBI. Methods: A review of the literature identified studies reporting the use of the TBI regarding guideline recommendations, normal populations, correlations to angiographic findings, and prognostic implications. Results: Eight studies conducted in a normal population were identified, of which only one study used imaging techniques to rule out arterial stenosis. A reference value of 0.71 was estimated as the lowest limit of normal based on the weighted average in studies with preheating of the limbs. A further seven studies showed correlations of the TBI with angiographic findings. The TBI had a sensitivity of 90% to 100% and a specificity of 65% to 100% for the detection of vessel stenosis. Few studies investigated the value of the TBI as a prognostic marker for cardiovascular mortality and morbidity, and no firm conclusions could be made. Studies have, however, shown correlation between the TBI and comorbidities such as kidney disease, diabetes, and microvasculature disease. Conclusions: In contrast to the well-defined and evidence-based limits of the ABI, the diagnostic criteria for a pathologic TBI remain ambiguous. Although several guidelines and reviews of PAD diagnostics recommend a TBI <0.70 as cutoff, it is not strictly evidence-based. The current literature is not sufficient to conclude a specific cutoff as diagnostic for PAD. The current studies in normal populations and the correlation with angiography are sparse, and additional trials are needed to further validate the limits. Large-scale trials are needed to establish the risk of morbidity and mortality for the various diagnostic limits of the TBI.
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