Diagnostic accuracy of resting systolic toe pressure for diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease in people with and without diabetes: A cross-sectionalretrospective case-control study

Peta Ellen Tehan, Alex Louise Barwick, Mathew Sebastian, Vivienne Helaine Chuter

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Background: The resting systolic toe pressure (TP) is a measure of small arterial function in the periphery. TP is used in additionto theankle-brachial index when screening for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of the lower limb in those with diabetes, particularly in the presence of lower limbmedial arterial calcification. It may be used as an adjunctassessment of lower limb vascular function and as a predictor of wound healing. The aim of this study was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of TP for detecting PAD in people with and without diabetes. Methods: This was a retrospective case-control study. Two researchers extracted information from consecutive patient records, including TP measurements, colour Duplex ultrasound results, demographic information, and medical history. Measures of diagnostic accuracy were determined by receiver operating curve (ROC) analysis, and calculation of sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative likelihood ratios. Results: Three hundred and nintey-fourparticipantswith suspected PAD were included. In the diabetes group (n=176), ROC analysis of TP for detecting PAD was 0.78 (95%CI: 0.69 to 0.84). In the control group (n=218), the ROC of TP was 0.73 (95%CI: 0.70 to 0.80). TP had highest sensitivity when anatomical distribution of disease was both proximal and distal (diabetes group: 79.49%, the control group: 82.61%). TP yielded highest sensitivity in mild disease (50-75% stenosis) in diabetes group, (81.82%) and moderate disease (>75% stenosis) in control group (80.77%). Conclusions: Our findings indicate that TPs are useful to assist in diagnosing PAD in clinical practice, however, results should be interpreted with caution due to the small probability of PAD being present with a negative test.

Original languageEnglish
Article number58
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Sensitivity
  • Specificity
  • Toe pressure

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