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Clin Cardiol. 2002 Jan;25(1):3-10.

The significance of lower extremity peripheral arterial disease.

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  • 1Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53792, USA.


The role of the cardiologist is expanding and involves the management of patients with lower extremity atherosclerotic occlusive arterial disease. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) remains an underdiagnosed and undertreated disease. The purpose of this review is to educate the clinician on the significance of lower extremity atherosclerotic occlusive arterial disease. Pathophysiology and anatomy are briefly reviewed. The definition of PAD is based upon both anatomic and functional considerations. Risk factors for PAD include traditional atherosclerotic risk factors. There is a considerable overlap between coronary and cerebrovascular diseases and PAD. Diagnosis is made mainly by history and physical examination. Noninvasive and invasive tests help diagnosis and localize disease. Expanded therapies to improve outcomes include lifestyle changes, medical treatment, interventional cardiovascular procedures, or surgical intervention.

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