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Hyperhomocysteinemia: marker of systemic atherosclerosis in peripheral arterial disease.

AIM: Patients suffering from peripheral arterial disease (PAD) are increasingly described as having hyperhomocysteinemia more than in patients with coronary artery or cerebrovascular disease. Cases of symptomatic PAD usually present with associated coronary artery or cerebrovascular disease and renal artery disease. It can thus be postulated that multilocular atherosclerosis is linked to hyperhomocysteinemia and that the extent of atherosclerosis has a possible correlation with homocysteine concentrations. The aim of this study was to ascertain whether fasting total homocysteine concentrations in patients with PAD are associated with the extent and the localization of systemic atherosclerosis in cerebrovascular, coronary and/or renal vascular zones.

METHODS: A total of 183 patients with PAD, Fontaine stages II-IV, were divided into 2 groups: Group A contained patients with isolated PAD (n=98) and Group B patients with systemic atherosclerosis in PAD (n=85). Characterization of vascular disease in various vascular zones was indication-adapted using non-invasive and/or invasive

METHODS: Patients with renal insufficiency were excluded from the study.

RESULTS: Homocysteine concentrations were significantly lower in patients with isolated PAD than in patients with additional systemic atherosclerosis (10.1+/-4.4 vs 16.7+/-7.04 micromol/l, p<0.0001). There were no differences in localization or extent of concomitant systemic atherosclerosis. Logistic regression analysis indicated that elevated plasma homocysteine and decreasing ABPI served independently as significant risk indicators for systemic atherosclerosis in patients with PAD (p<0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Hyperhomocysteinemia is a precursoral marker of systemic atherosclerosis and thus a prognostic indicator of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in PAD.

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