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Circulation. 2012 Sep 11;126(11):1345-54. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.108787. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Missed opportunities: despite improvement in use of cardioprotective medications among patients with lower-extremity peripheral artery disease, underuse remains.

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  • 1Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, NC 27705, USA.



Patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) are at high risk of cardiovascular events and benefit from aggressive secondary prevention; however, changes in the use of cardioprotective medications after incident diagnosis of PAD have not been well described.


We used Danish nationwide administrative registries (2000-2007) to identify 2 groups with incident PAD: PAD alone (n=34 160) and PAD with history of coronary artery disease (CAD) (n=9570). With the use of a comparator with incident CAD alone (n=154 183), we assessed temporal trends and comparative use of cardioprotective medications. Relative differences in medication use were examined by using multivariable logistic regression. Use of medications improved temporally among both groups: for PAD alone, any antiplatelet use increased from 29% to 59% from 2000 to 2007 (P<0.0001), whereas statin use increased 6-fold (9%-56%; P<0.0001). However, use of these therapies by 18 months after incident diagnosis for both PAD groups remained modest and lower in comparison with CAD alone (any antiplatelet, 53% versus 66%; statins, 40% versus 52%; angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, 20% versus 29%). Relative to CAD alone, patients with PAD alone were less likely to use any antiplatelet (adjusted odds ratio, 0.50; 95% confidence interval, 0.49-0.52), statins (adjusted odds ratio, 0.50; 95% confidence interval, 0.48-0.52), or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (adjusted odds ratio, 0.51; 95% confidence interval, 0.49-0.53) by 18 months.


Despite improvement in the use of cardioprotective medications over time, patients with PAD alone remain less likely than those with CAD alone to use these agents.

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