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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2007 Jan 5;132(1-2):15-20.

[Metabolic syndrome and peripheral arterial occlusive disease as indicators for increased cardiovascular risk].

[Article in German]

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Innere Abteilung/Abteilung für Gefässmedizin, Klinikum Karlsbad-Langensteinbach.



The usefulness of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) or a low ankle brachial index (ABI), respectively, to identify patients with high risk for cardiovascular events has repeatedly been postulated. However, robust data on the prevalence and prognosis of such patients are missing in the primary care setting.


In the prospective, non-interventional "German epidemiological trial on Ankle Brachial Index (getABI) at total of 6880 unselected patients > or = 65 years were observed by their General Practitioners over 3 years. Death and cardiovascular events were recorded. The definition of MetS was similar to the one of NCEP ATP III (National Cholesterol Education Program--Adult Treatment Panel III). ABI (ratio of the systolic blood pressures measured at the distal part of the calf and at the upper arm) was measured with Doppler sonography. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) was defined as ABI <0.9 or peripheral revascularization/amputation owing to PAD. Survival analyses were conducted with a Cox proportional hazard model. Hazard rate ratios (HRR, 95 % confidence intervals, CI) were multvariate adjusted.


The observation time for the total cohort was more than 20,000 patient years (PY). Cardiovascular mortality in patients with MetS (n = 3040, 44 %) compared to patients without MetS (n = 3795; 55 %) was doubled (8.5 vs. 4.0 per 1,000 PY; HRR: 2.0; CI 1.3 - 2.9). Concomitant presence of MetS and PAD (n = 651; 9.5 %) increased the mortality risk compared to patients without both conditions (n = 3194; 46.4 %) drastically (21.1 vs. 3.0 per 1000 PY; HRR: 5.7; CI: 3.5 - 9.4). Similar significant risk increases also were noted for all-cause mortality or a combined endpoint of mortality and vascular morbidity. Further, in lower ABI categories cardiovascular event rates increased.


Patients with MetS carry a substantially increased risk of premature death, especially cardiovascular death, and therefore require intensive treatment of their risk factors. This holds especially true if concomitant PAD is present.

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