Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), usually caused by atherosclerosis, is defined as an obstructive arterial disease of the lower extremities that reduces arterial flow during exercise or, in advanced stages, at rest. It affects more than 8.5 million people in the USA. PAD may appear as an asymptomatic arterial disease with abnormal noninvasive test results, or as a symptomatic disease presenting with atypical limb pain, classic intermittent claudication, or critical limb ischemia. The spectrum of PAD is not a continuum. Patients who present with critical limb ischemia may have experienced minimum symptoms. PAD results in limitation of exercise and walking ability, described as intermittent claudication. Patients with PAD are physically impaired and have a higher risk of cardiovascular events; therefore, the treatment goals are aimed at decreasing their cardiovascular risk, as well as improving exercise and daily functional performance. Apart from supervised exercise, which is a major treatment modality for patients with PAD, as of yet there have been very few significant pharmacological breakthroughs in the treatment of PAD that increases blood flow to the ischemic limb. Although percutaneous intervention has markedly improved the treatment of PAD, bypass surgery continues to play an important role. For the most part medical therapy for PAD is designed as a secondary prevention for cardiovascular risk. These include antiplatelet therapy, statins, ACE-inhibitors, smoking cessation and possibly antihypertensive therapy. Revascularization is most beneficial for patients with lifestyle limiting symptoms, acute or chronic limb ischemia with resting pain or nonhealing ulcers. In the following revile article we will try to explore the clinical role of some of the latest developments in this field.
- Medical therapy
- Peripheral arterial disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine