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J Vasc Surg. 2003 Jul;38(1):104-10.

Functional health and well-being of relatively young women with peripheral arterial disease is decreased but stable after diagnosis.

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Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



This study was undertaken to investigate the extent to which health-related quality of life (HQOL) is reduced in young women with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) compared with age-matched and gender-matched control subjects. Moreover, potential determinants of HQOL in young women with PAD were studied, ie, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, location of stenosis and time since diagnosis.


This was a population-based case-control study. Subjects were 208 young (<50 years) women with PAD diagnosed at angiography and 471 population-based age-matched and gender-matched control subjects. All participants completed the RAND-36 questionnaire, which produces a HQOL profile. The questionnaire contains 36 items that assess 8 domains of HQOL. Each domain is given a mean score ranging from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicative of better quality of life.


PAD had a deleterious effect on HQOL in young women. Ability to deal with the physical requirements of daily life was affected, and physical capabilities limited activity to a considerable extent. Mean differences observed for 2 domains, ie, Physical functioning and Role-physical, were -25.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], -28.8,-21.4) and -22.5 (95% CI, -28.9,-16.0). Within the group of young women with PAD, HQOL did not depend on age, smoking, hypercholesterolemia, or education. However, women with hyperglycemia, hypertension, or increased body mass index scored lower on 1 or more domains of RAND-36. Location of stenosis was also related to HQOL; patients with more proximal stenosis scored slightly higher on the domain Physical functioning, compared with women with more distal stenosis. Time (0-10 years) between diagnosis (1990-1999) and when RAND-36 was filled out (2000) is related to score on the Mental health domain; score increases over time. Scores on the other 7 domains of HQOL showed no significant relation to duration of disease.


Quality of life in young women with PAD was statistically significant diminished for all domains of RAND-36 in comparison with HQOL in healthy age-matched control subjects. HQOL of patients with recently diagnosed PAD is comparable to that of patients in whom the diagnosis was made several years previously. Effective therapy might stabilize, albeit not improve, quality of life in this specific patient population.

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