Friday, May 15, 2009

Peripheral arterial disease overlooked

United Press International


NEW YORK, Apr 29, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Peripheral arterial disease of the legs is often overlooked even in patients with known heart disease under a cardiologist's care, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Issam D. Moussa of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center said the study involved nearly 800 patients with heart disease who were to undergo coronary angiography -- an examination of the blood vessels or chambers of the heart -- and/or intervention and were either at least 70 years old, or between the ages of 50-69 and had a history of diabetes and/or tobacco use.

Researchers determined if patients had peripheral arterial disease by calculating the Ankle-Brachial Index, the ratio of the blood pressure in the lower legs to blood pressure in the arms. Patients also answered questionnaires on peripheral arterial disease awareness and functional status.

The study, published in the May issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, showed that approximately 1 of 6 patients had previously unrecognized peripheral arterial disease, despite being under the care of a cardiovascular specialist. The researchers point out that this includes only those with previously undiagnosed peripheral arterial disease and does not represent the total prevalence of peripheral arterial disease in patients with heart disease, which is actually much higher.


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