Importance: The prevalence and morbidity of peripheral artery disease (PAD) are high, with limb outcomes including revascularization and amputation. In community-dwelling patients with PAD, the role of noninvasive evaluation for risk assessment and rates of limb outcomes have not been established to date. Objective: To evaluate whether ankle-brachial indices are associated with limb outcomes in community-dwelling patients with PAD. Design, Setting, and Participants: A population-based, observational, test-based cohort study of patients was performed from January 1, 1998, to December 31, 2014. Data analysis was conducted from July 15 to December 15, 2017. Participants included a community-based cohort of 1413 patients with PAD from Olmsted County, Minnesota, identified by validated algorithms deployed to electronic health records. Automated algorithms identified limb outcomes used to build Cox proportional hazards regression models. Ankle-brachial indices and presence of poorly compressible arteries were electronically identified from digital data sets. Guideline-recommended management strategies within 6 months of diagnosis were also electronically retrieved, including therapy with statins, antiplatelet agents, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor blockers, and smoking abstention. Main Outcomes and Measures: Ankle-brachial index (index ≤0.9 indicates PAD; <.05, severe PAD; and ≥1.40, poorly compressible arteries) and limb revascularization or amputation. Results: Of 1413 patients, 633 (44.8%) were women; mean (SD) age was 70.8 (13.3) years. A total of 283 patients (20.0%) had severe PAD (ankle-brachial indices <0.5) and 350 (24.8%) had poorly compressible arteries (ankle-brachial indices ≥1.4); 780 (55.2%) individuals with less than severe disease formed the reference group. Only 32 of 283 patients (11.3%) with severe disease and 68 of 350 patients (19.4%) with poorly compressible arteries were receiving 4 guideline-recommended management strategies. In the severe disease subgroup, the 1-year event rate for revascularization was 32.4% (90 events); in individuals with poorly compressible arteries, the 1-year amputation rate was 13.9% (47 events). In models adjusted for age, sex, and critical limb ischemia, poorly compressible arteries were associated with amputation (hazard ratio [HR], 3.12; 95% CI, 2.16-4.50; P < .001) but not revascularization (HR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.69-1.20; P = .49). In contrast, severe disease was associated with revascularization (HR, 2.69; 95% CI, 2.15-3.37; P < .001) but not amputation (HR, 1.30; 95% CI, 0.82-2.07; P = .27). Conclusions and Relevance: Community-dwelling patients with severe PAD or poorly compressible arteries have high rates of revascularization or limb loss, respectively. Guideline-recommended management strategies for secondary risk prevention are underused in the community.
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