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Clinical characteristics of Buerger's disease in Iran.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the clinical course of Buerger's disease as observed in two vascular surgery centers located in the capital of Iran.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series.

PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: Sina and Imam Hospitals, Tehran, Iran, during the years 1997 to 2002.

METHODOLOGY: The records of all the patients admitted with Buerger's disease diagnosed on the basis of Shionoya's clinical criteria were studied. Their clinical characteristics, treatment offered and short-term follow-up results are described as frequencies and percentages.

RESULTS: A total of 116 patients, aged 41.1+/-11.3 years, were enrolled. All patients were males; 99% of them were smokers with an average of 22.9 pack-years of tobacco use. Lower-extremity was affected in 102 (87.9%) patients, upper-extremity in 3 (2.6%) patients and both in 11 (9.5%). The most frequent reasons for being referred to hospital were ischemic ulcers (90.5%), claudication (87.9%), paresthesia (75.9%), rest pain (66.4%), gangrene (60.3%), Raynaud's phenomenon (23.3%) and thrombophlebitis (9.5%). Diagnostic arteriography, vascular bypass surgery and sympathectomy were performed in 60%, 24% and 83% of the patients, respectively. Sixty-eight patients (58.6%) had one of the following amputations: toe 36 (52.9%), transmetatarsal 3 (4.4%), below knee 25 (36.8%), finger 3 (4.4%) and above knee one (1.5%) patient.

CONCLUSION: Since the studied hospitals are the referral centers for vascular surgery in Iran admitting patients with severe symptoms; therefore, a higher number of complications and amputations was found in the present study. Upper extremity involvement as well as the occurrence of thrombophlebitis and Raynaud's phenomenon was rather infrequent among the studied cases.

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