Screening of unrecognized peripheral arterial disease (PAD) using ankle-brachial index in high cardiovascular risk patients free from symptomatic PAD

Jean-Jacques Mourad, Patrice Cacoub, Jean-Philippe Collet, François Becker, Jean-François Pinel, Dominique Huet, Marie-Antoinette Sevestre-Pietri, Pascal Priollet
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2009, 50 (3): 572-80

OBJECTIVE: To determine the utility of ankle-brachial index (ABI) in screening for unrecognized peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Although PAD is a consistent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, it is often under-diagnosed and under-treated.

METHODS: In this prospective, observational, real-life, epidemiologic study (ELLIPSE) the prevalence of PAD (ABI < 0.9) was calculated in 2146 asymptomatic patients > or =55 years of age who were at high cardiovascular risk and who were hospitalized in departments of cardiology, diabetology, geriatrics, internal medicine, or neurology in metropolitan France. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify PAD risk factors. The discriminatory power of the model was evaluated by calculating the area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic curve.

RESULTS: The ABI was <0.9 in 41.1% of patients. In the multivariate analysis, absence of > or =1 pulse (odds ratio [OR], 2.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.81 to 2.63; P < .0001), arterial bruit (OR, 1.92; 95%CI, 1.34 to 2.75; P < .0004), previous non-Q-wave myocardial infarction (OR, 1.50; 95%CI, 1.08 to 2.08; P = .02), regular smoking (OR, 1.49; 95%CI, 1.22 to 1.80; P < .0001), age > or =81 years (OR, 1.45; 95%CI, 1.15 to 1.82; P = .001), creatinine clearance <60 mL/min (OR, 1.33; 95%CI, 1.08 to 1.63; P = .008), and treated hypertension (OR, 1.28; 95%CI, 1.03 to 1.59; P = .03) were significantly associated with PAD. Although risk increased with the number of variables, the model, based on clinical symptoms and on medical history parameters, was not discriminatory (AUC = 0.66). On average, physicians took 15 minutes to perform the ABI test.

CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of asymptomatic PAD in this patient population suggests that ABI should systematically be performed in high-risk hospitalized patients to ensure that appropriate secondary prevention programs are initiated.

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