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High Ankle-Brachial Index Increases Foot Ulcer Risk

Individuals with high index also score lower on some physical quality-of-life measures

TUESDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged and elderly individuals with a high ankle-brachial index (ABI) in at least one leg are at higher risk of foot ulcers and other ailments, and score lower on some physical quality-of-life measures, according to a report in the April 1 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Matthew A. Allison, M.D., from the University of California San Diego, and colleagues compared quality of life in 296 subjects with an ABI of 1.40 or greater in at least one leg and 4,420 subjects with an ABI of 0.90-1.40. All subjects were older than 50 years of age.

The researchers found that a high ABI was positively associated with diabetes, male gender and waist circumference, and inversely associated with smoking and dyslipidemia. After adjustment for several variables, the high ABI group had a significantly higher risk of foot ulcers and a borderline higher risk of heart failure, stroke and neuropathy. Subjects with high ABI scored lower on the physical component scale and walking distance domain quality-of-life measures, the report indicates.

"Future investigation may be warranted to evaluate the mechanism that underlies the derivation of the high ABI value and perhaps the effect of aggressive risk factor management of these patients in an effort to improve quality of life while decreasing the risk for untoward cardiovascular disease events," Allison and colleagues conclude.

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