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Circulation. 1985 Oct;72(4):768-73.

Noninvasively diagnosed peripheral arterial disease as a predictor of mortality: results from a prospective study.


Intermittent claudication has been reported in previous studies to approximately double the risk of subsequent mortality. However, a history of claudication is often present in the absence of significant peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and absent in the presence of PAD. For this reason we evaluated the association between large-vessel and small-vessel PAD, measured by highly reliable and valid noninvasive tests, and mortality in 567 older subjects from a defined population followed-up for an average of 4 years. Large-vessel PAD was strongly and significantly predictive of all-cause mortality in both men and women with a relative risk of 4 to 5, and this finding was independent of other cardiovascular disease risk factors in multivariable analysis. In addition, this finding persisted after exclusion of subjects with extant cardiovascular disease at baseline. The associations of both claudication and abnormal peripheral pulses with mortality were weaker than the large-vessel PAD association. Isolated small-vessel PAD was unrelated to subsequent mortality. These findings suggest older subjects of both sexes at a high risk of impending mortality can be identified through noninvasive testing for large-vessel PAD.

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