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01-12-2020 | Research | Uitgave 1/2020 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2020

The ankle brachial index in people with and without diabetes: intra-tester reliability

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2020
Sarah Louise Casey, Sean Michael Lanting, Vivienne Helaine Chuter
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The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is widely used for determining the presence and severity of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and current guidelines suggest it should be used to monitor possible progression in affected individuals. It is therefore important that the technique demonstrates adequate reliability for repeated measurements. Existing studies suggest that the ABI is reliable in the general population however, there is a lack of evidence for the reliability of the ABI in people with diabetes. The aim of this study was to investigate the intra-tester reliability of the ABI in people with and without diabetes.


Eighty-five participants (40 with and 45 without diabetes) underwent ankle and brachial systolic blood pressure measurements by a single clinician during two testing sessions. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), their 95% limits of agreement, standard error of measurement and minimal detectable change were determined.


Intra-tester reliability of the ABI was found to be good (ICC: 0.80), however sub-group analysis of participants with and without diabetes found that ABI was slightly less reliable in people with diabetes (ICC: 0.78) than in those without (ICC: 0.82). The relatively large limits of agreement (− 0.16 to 0.16), standard error of measurement (0.03 overall, 0.04 for the diabetes group), and minimal detectable change (0.08 overall, 0.11 for the diabetes group) suggest that a large change in ABI is required for it to demonstrate a true change rather than the result of measurement variability. The minimal detectable change for the ABI was 0.08 overall, and 0.11 for the diabetes group.


The ABI demonstrated good reliability in all groups analysed. However, the wide limits of agreement and considerable standard error of measurement obtained support the use of multiple methods of vascular assessment for ongoing monitoring of lower limb vascular status.

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