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J Hum Hypertens. 2001 Jul;15(7):447-54.

Peripheral vascular disease and hypertension: a forgotten association?

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University Department of Medicine, City Hospital, Birmingham B18 7QH, UK.


Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is associated with a high cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Intermittent claudication is the most common symptomatic manifestation of PVD, but is also an important predictor of cardiovascular death, increasing it by three-fold, and increasing all-cause mortality by two to five-fold. Hypertension is a common and important risk factor for vascular disorders, including PVD. Of hypertensives at presentation, about 2-5% have intermittent claudication, with this prevalence increasing with age. Similarly, 35-55% of patients with PVD at presentation also have hypertension. Patients who suffer from hypertension with PVD have a greatly increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. Apart from the epidemiological associations, hypertension contributes to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, the basic underlying pathological process underlying PVD. Hypertension, in common with PVD, is associated with abnormalities of haemostasis and lipids, leading to an increased atherothrombotic state. Nevertheless, none of the large antihypertensive treatment trials have adequately addressed whether a reduction in blood pressure causes a decrease in PVD incidence. There is therefore an obvious need for such outcome studies, especially since the two conditions are commonly encountered together.

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