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Peripheral arterial disease and progression of coronary atherosclerosis.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this analysis was to characterize the progression of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with concomitant peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

BACKGROUND: Peripheral arterial disease is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. The impact of concomitant PAD on coronary atherosclerosis progression in patients with coronary artery disease has not been well established.

METHODS: The burden and progression of coronary atherosclerosis was investigated in 3,479 patients with coronary artery disease with (n = 216) and without (n = 3,263) concomitant PAD who participated in 7 clinical trials that employed serial intravascular ultrasound imaging.

RESULTS: Patients with PAD had a greater percent atheroma volume (40.4 ± 9.2% vs. 38.5 ± 9.1%, p = 0.002) and percentage of images containing calcium (35.1 ± 26.2% vs. 29.6 ± 24.2%, p = 0.002), in association with smaller lumen volume (275.7 ± 101.6 mm(3) vs. 301.4 ± 110.3 mm(3), p < 0.001) and vessel wall volume (467.7 ± 166.8 mm(3) vs. 492.9 ± 169.8 mm(3), p = 0.01). On serial evaluation, patients with PAD demonstrated greater progression of percent atheroma volume (+0.58 ± 0.38 vs. +0.23 ± 0.3%, p = 0.009) and total atheroma volume (-0.17 ± 2.69 mm(3) vs. -2.05 ± 2.15 mm(3), p = 0.03) and experienced more cardiovascular events (26.3% vs. 19.8%, p = 0.03). In patients with PAD and without PAD, respectively, achieving levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol <70 mg/dl was associated with less progression of percent atheroma volume (+0.16 ± 0.27% vs. +0.76 ± 0.20%, p = 0.04; and +0.05 ± 0.14% vs. +0.29 ± 0.13%, p < 0.001) and total atheroma volume (-3.0 ± 1.9 mm(3) vs. +1.0 ± 1.4 mm(3), p = 0.04; and -3.3 ± 1.1 mm(3) vs. -1.6 ± 1.0 mm(3), p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with concomitant PAD harbor more extensive and calcified coronary atherosclerosis, constrictive arterial remodeling, and greater disease progression. These changes are likely to contribute to adverse cardiovascular outcomes. The benefit for all patients achieving low levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol supports the need for intensive lipid lowering in patients with PAD.

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