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Milestones in thromboangiitis obliterans. A position paper of the VAS-European Independent Foundation in Angiology/Vascular Medicine.

BACKGROUND: Unfortunately, even today Thromboangiitis Obliterans has disease features that remain misunderstood or underappreciated. The epidemiology, etiology and pathophysiology of the disease are still unclear. Biomarkers and disease activity markers are lacking, thus clinical assessment is difficult. We are still struggling to establish unique diagnostic, staging and treatment criteria. This is an academic-collaborative effort to describe the pathophysiology, the clinical manifestations, the diagnostic approach, and the challenges of management of patients with TAO.

METHODS: A systematic search for relevant studies dating from 1900 to the end of 2020 was performed on the PubMed, SCOPUS, and Science Direct databases.

RESULTS: Given the intriguing nature of presentation of TAO, its management, to some extent is not only different in different regions of the world but also varies within the same region. Following this project, we discovered ambiguity, overlap and lack of clear-cut criteria for management of TAO.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: An international group of experts however came to one conclusion. They all agree that management of TAO is in need of a call for action for a renewed global look with multi-center studies, to update the geographical distribution of the disease and to establish a unique set of diagnostic criteria and a consensus-based guideline for best treatment based on current evidence.

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