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Cardiology. 1995;86(4):349-55.

Peripheral arterial-vascular disease in women: prevalence, prognosis, and treatment.

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Brigham and Women's Hospital, Cardiovascular Division, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Lower extremity atherosclerosis results in significant morbidity in women, particularly in women following the menopause. Up to 25% of women aged 55 to 74 years are affected by this disease. When noninvasive testing is used to determine the prevalence of lower extremity atherosclerosis, and men in this age group are equally represented. Cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, and menopause are risk factors for atherosclerosis of particular interest in women. The prevalence of cigarette smoking is rising rapidly among women, and diabetes appears to be a greater risk factor for atherosclerosis in women than in men. Risk factor reduction, in addition to an exercise program, are important parts of the treatment program for stable claudication. In both men and women with more severe symptoms, an ankle/branchial index (ABI) of less than 0.3 is associated with more severe symptoms, an ankle/brachial index (ABI) of less than 0.3 is associated with a poor prognosis. Men and women fare equally well following revascularization for severe peripheral atherosclerosis. However, there are some data to suggest that women may be offered peripheral revascularization at a lower rate.

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