(HealthDay News) – The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has found that there is currently insufficient evidence to determine whether the ankle brachial index (ABI) is beneficial for screening for peripheral artery disease (PAD) and predicting the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Noting that a previous Task Force recommendation came out against the use of ABI to identify PAD, the scope was broadened for this review to include cardiovascular disease risk in general. Based on the evidence available to date, the balance of benefits and harms could not be determined, and an I statement has been issued, indicating insufficient evidence to issue a definitive recommendation.

The draft statement is relevant for individuals without symptoms of PAD and for those who have not been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, severe kidney disease, or diabetes. The draft Recommendation Statement is available for comment from March 19–April 15, 2013.

“The Task Force calls on the research community to prioritize studies that examine whether using the ABI to screen for PAD and assess the risk of cardiovascular disease leads to better health,” Task Force co-vice chairman Albert Siu, MD, MSPH, said in a statement. “Investments in such research may lead to improved cardiovascular health for Americans and to a definitive recommendation from the Task Force in the future.”

Draft Recommendation Statement
Comment on Recommendations