Arterial risk from several factors

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 19, 2006

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Cigarette smoking and high cholesterol predict risk for some forms of peripheral artery disease, while diabetes predicts risk for other forms of the disease, researchers reported in the May 30 rapid access issue of the American Heart Assn.'s journal Circulation.

Researchers examined risk factors for PAD progression in large blood vessels and in small blood vessels. PAD, which affects about 8 million people in the United States, is characterized by clogged arteries beyond the heart or brain -- most often in the legs.

Researchers identified several risk factors that influence the evolution of large blood vessel PAD and found smoking to be the most powerful predictor that the disease would worsen.

The only significant predictor of small vessel PAD progression found by the researchers was diabetes. "The most surprising result was the absence of an impact of diabetes in large vessel PAD progression," said lead author Victor Aboyans, MD, PhD, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Dupuytren University Hospital in Limoges, France.

The results reinforce new American College of Cardiology/AHA guidelines on the management of PAD, published in Circulation in March, said co-author Michael H. Criqui, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.

"If you have PAD and are taking low-dose aspirin and a statin, you're doing two things that are very helpful," he said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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