The presence of Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) reflects a systemic process that also affects the cardiac and cerebral circulation. Unfortunately awareness of the importance of PAD is low among physicians as well as patients. PAD is a marker for increased risk of future events such as myocardial infarction and stroke and the management of patients with PAD is similar to that of patients with other cardiovascular disease and includes lifestyle changes and pharmacotherapy with agents such as antihypertensives, antiplatelets and lipid lowering drugs. PAD is relatively common and can be easily screened for using hand held Doppler (ABPI) to measure pressures in the foot arteries. However, there are currently no routine screening programmes in place for PAD. A simple screening programme based on ABPI could increase rates of early detection among the asymptomatic population with the potential for a dramatic reduction in subsequent coronary events. Such screening programmes might identify many millions of high risk patients world-wide.
Keywords: intermittent claudication (ic), coronary artery disease (cad), pharmacotherapy, smoking, dyslipidaemia
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