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Arterial disease of the leg frequently overlooked in patients with heart disease
Date:4/28/2009

New York, N.Y. April 28, 2009 Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of the legs, in which the arteries become blocked with plaque and blood supply to the legs is reduced, affects eight million people in the U.S. Early detection of PAD is important because it can limit the ability to walk and exercise, it may place patients at greater risk for limb loss and it increases the chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is prevalent in patients with PAD and it is known that PAD is under diagnosed in the primary care setting, but a new study found that it is often overlooked even in patients with known heart disease who are under a cardiologist's care. The study was published in the May issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, the official journal of The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI).

Led by Dr. Issam D. Moussa of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, the study involved nearly 800 patients with ischemic heart disease who were to undergo coronary angiography and/or intervention and were either at least 70 years old, or between the ages of 50 and 69 and had a history of diabetes mellitus and/or tobacco use. Researchers determined if patients had PAD by calculating the Ankle-Brachial Index, the ratio of the blood pressure in the lower legs to blood pressure in the arms, which is normally the first test administered to patients in cases where PAD is suspected. Patients also answered questionnaires on PAD awareness and functional status.

The results showed that approximately one out of six patients had previously unrecognized PAD, despite being under the care of a cardiovascular specialist. The researchers point out that this includes only those with previously undiagnosed PAD and does not represent the total prevalence of PAD in patients with heart disease, which is actually much higher. Most patients with PAD did not limp or have leg pain, two
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Contact: Sean Wagner
medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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