Contemporary cardiovascular risk and secondary preventive drug treatment patterns in peripheral artery disease patients undergoing revascularization

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Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is common worldwide, and PAD patients are increasingly offered lower limb revascularization procedures. The aim of this population-based study was to describe the current risk for cardiovascular (CV) events and mortality and also to elucidate the current pharmacologic treatment patterns in revascularized lower limb PAD patients.


This observational, retrospective cohort study analyzed prospectively collected linked data retrieved from mandatory Swedish national health care registries. The Swedish National Registry for Vascular Surgery database was used to identify revascularized PAD patients. Current risk for CV events and death was analyzed, as were prescribed drugs aimed for secondary prevention. A Cox proportional hazard regression model was used to explore risk factors for suffering a CV event.


Between May 2008 and December 2013, there were 18,742 revascularized PAD patients identified. Mean age was 70.0 years among patients with intermittent claudication (IC; n = 6959) and 76.8 years among patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI; n = 11,783). Antiplatelet therapy, statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers, and beta-blockers were used by 73%, 60%, 57%, and 49% at admission for revascularization. CV event rate (a composite of myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or CV death) at 12, 24, and 36 months was 5.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.5-5.6), 9.5% (95% CI, 8.7-10.3), and 13.8% (95% CI, 12.8-14.8) in patients with IC and 16.8% (95% CI, 16.1-17.6), 25.9% (95% CI, 25.0-26.8), and 34.3% (95% CI, 33.2-35.4) in patients with CLI. Best medical treatment, defined as any antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy along with statin treatment, was offered to 65% of IC patients and 45% of CLI patients with little change during the study period. Statin therapy was associated with reduced CV events (hazard ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.71-0.81;P< .001), whereas treatment with low-dose aspirin was not.


Revascularized PAD patients are still at a high risk for CV events without a declining time trend. A large proportion of both IC and CLI patients were not offered best medical treatment. The most commonly used agent was aspirin, which was not associated with CV event reduction. This study calls for improved medical management and highlights an important and partly unmet medical need among revascularized PAD patients.

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