Atherosclerotic risk factor control in patients with peripheral arterial disease

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Background: The presence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), even in the absence of overt coronary artery disease (CAD), confers the same relative risk of death from a cardiovascular cause as in patients with a previous cardiovascular event. Current guidelines recommend atherosclerotic risk factor-reduction strategies in PAD patients identical to those in patients with a recent coronary event. The purpose of this study was to determine the status of atherosclerotic risk factor control in patients with PAD. Methods: We analyzed the records of patients treated at 2 regional clinics serving 92,940 individuals. Full examination, laboratory, and pharmacy data were available for all patients. Pharmacy data were analyzed to determine prescriptions for β-blocker therapy, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and lipid-lowering agents. Lipid control was assessed through fasting lipid data. Glycemic control in diabetics was evaluated by using hemoglobin A1c levels. Results: We administratively identified 2839 patients with a diagnosis of PAD. The exclusion of 1106 patients with a diagnosis of CAD or validated not to have PAD resulted in a cohort of 1733 patients. Of these, 33.1% (574/1733) were currently receiving β-blockers, 28.9% (500/1733) were receiving an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, and 31.3% (543/1733) were receiving a statin. Most patients (92%; 1594/1733) had a recent blood pressure recorded. However, 56% (893/1594) had a systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or higher, 45.5% (726/1594) had a diastolic blood pressure of 80 mm Hg or higher, and 13.6% (217/1594) had a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher. Screening fasting lipid profiles were found in 62.6% (1085/1733) of patients, 56% (508/912) had a low-density lipoprotein of 100 mg/dL or higher, and 21% (187/912) had a value of more than 130 mg/dL. In patients with diabetes, a hemoglobin A1c level of 7.0% or higher was found in 54.2% (198/365) of patients. Conclusions: Despite national consensus of PAD as a CAD equivalent, patients are currently undertreated with regard to atherosclerotic risk factor modification. Until broader recognition of this disease process exists, vascular surgeons must continue to champion medical as well as surgical treatments for these patients. Copyright © 2005 by The Society for Vascular Surgery.




Rehring, T. F., Sandhoff, B. G., Stolcpart, R. S., Merenich, J. A., & Hollis, H. W. (2005). Atherosclerotic risk factor control in patients with peripheral arterial disease. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 41(5), 816–822.

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