Reducing the Burden of Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects an estimated 8 to 10 million Americans, a number that is expected to increase as the population ages and as diabetes and obesity become more prevalent. Clinical research has shown that PAD is associated with a high risk of major cardiovascular events. While PAD shares risk factors of those associated with heart attack and stroke, it doesn’t always have a dramatic onset. Even in cases where PAD disease onset is severe, it’s often not treated as seriously as it should be. New Study Data In the November 2010 issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes, my colleagues and I used data from the REduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health (REACH) Registry to assess hospitalization rates and costs in patients with PAD. The registry included individuals who were at risk of atherothrombosis caused by established arterial disease or the presence of three or more atherothrombotic risk factors. The societal cost associated with the consequences of PAD is enormous. Prior research from our group estimated the costs associated with vascular-related hospitalizations alone in patients with PAD to be $21 billion in the United States. Roughly half of those costs are associated with PAD-specific treatment, while the other half relates to other cardiovascular-related hospitalizations, such as for heart attack and stroke.  Invasive treatment for PAD is costly, and a first invasive procedure becomes a risk factor for further procedures. We are dealing with both clinically and economically severe consequences of a truly preventable disease in PAD. In this latest study, we looked at the 2-year rates of vascular-related hospitalizations and associated costs in U.S. patients with established PAD...