The presence of peripheral vascular disease along with coronary heart disease are the two components of generalized atherosclerosis. The risk of having one when the other is present is extremely high. There are four parts to consider in peripheral vascular disease management and these are prevention, plaque stabilization, percutaneous intervention and surgery. Each part has its place but no one would argue that prevention is best when risk is recognized and treated. Classic risk factors and the available diagnostic methods are discussed. Treatment of risk factors is presented with reduction of the low density lipoproteins as the established gold standard during the current era. Procedures of percutaneous vascular intervention with their procedural indications are presented and their advantages and disadvantages discussed. Surgical indications are presented with special indication due to major claudication, rest pain, or tissue loss. Prognosis is also considered and this prognosis is worse in more proximal peripheral vascular disease. Association with other diseases is an important part of prognosis, with the latter especially made worse by the presence of diabetes mellitus. Surprisingly, the long-term prognosis of peripheral vascular disease is worse than that of coronary heart disease. These patients have a significant increase of cardiovascular risk factors and of comorbidities. It has been shown that these patients are undertreated in spite of their high cardiovascular risk. It is mandatory that they receive the same intensive treatment of risk factors as that given to coronary heart disease patients.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, cardiovascular risk, claudication, coronary heart disease, low density lipoproteins, metabolic syndrome, percutaneous intervention, peripheral vascular disease, prevention, vascular surgery
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