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With Peripheral Artery Disease, Med Adherence Is Low

Survival, though, is greater when guidelines are followed, study finds

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Less than half of those who have peripheral artery disease are taking the recommended combination of medications to control it, new research says.

Researchers collected data on 711 people with peripheral artery disease who had vascular surgery at 11 hospitals in the Netherlands in 2004. Three years later, 465 of the surviving 552 patients answered a questionnaire about their medication use.

About half were taking the guideline-recommended medical therapy, a combination of aspirin and statins in all patients and beta blockers in those who also had ischemic heart disease, said study author Dr. Don Poldermans, of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.

Those who were taking the recommended medications had a better chance of being alive three years after their surgery, the study found.

Researchers also found that after three years, aspirin was being taken by 74 percent, statins by 69 percent and beta blockers by 54 percent.

"Guideline-recommended medical therapy use for the combination of aspirin, statins and beta blockers ... was lower than expected," the authors said in a news release from the American Heart Association. "These data clearly indicate the need for initiating optimal medical treatment at the preoperative outpatient clinic, as well as improvement of long-term medication use."

Their research was to be presented Friday at the American Heart Association's 10th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke in Washington, D.C. and will be published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Outcomes and Quality.

Peripheral artery disease is a circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. Symptoms typically include leg pain when walking.

The disease is also often a sign of atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammation and build-up of plaques in the arteries, which can reduce blood flow to the heart, brain and legs.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on peripheral artery disease.

-- Jennifer Thomas

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, April 24, 2009

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