The prevalence of peripheral arterial disease in a defined population.
Because patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) may be asymptomatic or may present with atypical symptoms or findings, the true population prevalence of PAD is essentially unknown. We used four highly reliable, sophisticated noninvasive tests (segmental blood pressure, flow velocity by Doppler ultrasound, postocclusive reactive hyperemia, and pulse reappearance half-time) to assess the prevalence of large-vessel PAD and small-vessel PAD in an older (average age 66 years) defined population of 613 men and women. A total of 11.7% of the population had large-vessel PAD on noninvasive testing, and nearly half of those with large-vessel PAD also had small-vessel PAD (5.2%). An additional 16.0% of the population had isolated small-vessel PAD. Large-vessel PAD increased dramatically with age and was slightly more common in men and in subjects with hyperlipidemia. Isolated small-vessel PAD, by contrast, was essentially unrelated to sex, hyperlipidemia, or age, although it was somewhat less common before age 60. Intermittent claudication rates in this population were 2.2% in men and 1.7% in women, and abnormalities in femoral or posterior tibial pulse were present in 20.3% of men and 22.1% of women compared with the noninvasively assessed large-vessel PAD rate of 11.7%. Thus assessment of large-vessel PAD prevalence by intermittent claudication dramatically underestimated the true large-vessel PAD prevalence and assessment by peripheral pulse examination dramatically overestimated the true prevalence.
- Copyright © 1985 by American Heart Association