The Utility of pulse volume waveforms in the identification of lower limb arterial insuffciency

Jane H Davies, jane lewis, Edgar Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The ankle brachial index is widely used for non-invasive assessment of lower limb arterial status, but has recognised limitations. The most significant limitation involves arterial calcification, which results in artefactually raised occlusion pressures and uninformative ankle brachial indices.

Hypothesis: Analysis of the pulse volume waveform is useful for identification of lower limb arterial insufficiency in the presence of arterial calcification.

Method: Individuals (n = 1101) registered at a Welsh general practice were invited to undergo cardiovascular risk assessment. The ankle brachial index was measured using an automated
device utilising volume plethysmography and the traditional Doppler ultrasound method.

Results: Eight percent of participants (30/368) had an ankle brachial index *1.3, suggesting possible arterial calcification; consideration of the pulse volume waveform in these cases identified possible mild peripheral arterial disease in three cases (10%). Furthermore, in one case, the ankle brachial indices were within the normal range, but the pulse volume waveforms suggested a moderate degree of arterial insufficiency; this participant was subsequently diagnosed with bilateral superficial femoral artery stenoses and treated accordingly.

Conclusion: Pulse volume waveforms can be easily utilised as an adjunct to ankle brachial index measurement to identify patients who may benefit from further vascular assessment and
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages4
JournalEWMA Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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