ANN ARBOR, Mich. Women face greater limits on their lifestyle and have more severe symptoms as a result of peripheral artery disease (PAD), but minimally invasive procedures used to unclog arteries are just as successful as in men.
The success of procedures, such as angioplasty or stent placement, in treating women with leg PAD was revealed in a Journal of the American College of Cardiology study.
The study provides a rare look at gender differences in PAD. PAD happens when fatty deposits build up in arteries outside the heart, usually the arteries supplying fresh oxygen and blood to the arms, legs and feet.
About 8 million Americans have peripheral artery disease, but PAD awareness among men and women is strikingly low compared with other cardiovascular diseases like hypertension and heart attacks.
"We found that women had excellent outcomes compared to men, even though they were older and had more severe disease," says senior study author P. Michael Grossman, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center and director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at the Veterans Administration Ann Arbor Healthcare System.
Before treatment, women were at higher risk of amputation, and more likely to suffer from leg pain at rest or ulceration, called critical limb ischemia.
Fewer women complained of leg discomfort, fatigue or cramping with activity known as claudication, according to the study.
"The reasons for differences in symptoms are unclear, and deserve further study. It does indicate that we need to be vigilant in asking women about leg discomfort and screening women for PAD," says Grossman.
Researchers used Michigan's Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium PVI registry, which collected data from 16 Michigan hospitals about percutaneous peripheral vascular intervention.
A total of 12,379 patients h
|Contact: Shantell Kirkendoll|
University of Michigan Health System