The Doppler ankle-brachial pressure index (ABI) is an objective and efficient tool that can be used to determine the presence and severity of peripheral arterial disease in the lower extremities. The ABI value is inversely associated with other cardiovascular risk factors. To date, there have been no studies of the distribution of ABI in Korea. We performed a cross-sectional study of 1,943 subjects (681 men and 1,262 women; 45-74 yr old) in Namwon, Korea. The prevalence of a low ABI (<0.90) was 2.2% in men and 1.8% in women, and a high ABI (≥1.30) was prevalent in 3.1% of men and 0.8% of women. Age, smoking habits, waist circumference, hypertension, and blood pressure were associated with ABI values in both sexes. The presence of carotid plaques was associated with ABI values only in men, whereas pulse pressure was associated with ABI values only in women (p<0.05). Although the prevalence of a low ABI in the present study was lower than those reported previously for Western populations and Japanese men, our results suggest that the ABI might be used as an indicator of cardiovascular risk factors in adult Koreans.
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