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IIR 01-180 – HSR Study

IIR 01-180
Process of Care in Peripheral Arterial Disease
Tracie C. Collins, MD MPH
Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX
Houston, TX
Funding Period: October 2002 - September 2005
PAD, blockage of the leg arteries due to atherosclerosis, can lead to leg amputation or bypass revascularization. Although the functional status and quality of life implications of leg amputation are self-evident, many fail to realize the limitations of bypass surgery [30-day mortality of 2-8%; 5-year graft failure rates of 20 to 90%; 5-year risk of amputation of 20%]. Because of the risk for adverse outcomes in patients with PAD, research is needed to better understand how to optimize the care provided to patients with this disease.

The management of PAD includes atherosclerotic risk factor control to reduce the risk of poor outcomes. Poor outcomes in PAD are either systemic or localized to the legs. While much research has focused on adverse systemic outcomes in patients with PAD, less has been done to determine those factors that are related to adverse limb events. The purpose of this study is to examine the association of process of care and the level of risk factor control with adverse outcomes (primary – surgical limb outcomes; secondary – mortality) in patients with PAD.

We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients who have undergone diagnostic testing within the Houston VA Medical Center vascular laboratory from 1995 to 1998. We reviewed the vascular laboratory results for the ankle-brachial index (ABI; the ratio of the systolic blood pressure in the ankle to the systolic blood pressure in the arm) for each patient. For those patients who screened positive for PAD based on an ABI result of < 0.9, we performed a chart review. We defined time zero as three years prior to the vascular laboratory visit and we followed patients from this point forward until the first adverse limb event (i.e., lower extremity bypass surgery or amputation), death, or the end of the study (i.e., December 31, 2001). We reviewed each chart for information on the process of care for patients with PAD, including physicians’ efforts to manage atherosclerotic risk factors, and actual level of risk factor control. Through chi-square analyses and multivariate Cox regression modeling, we have determined the association of the level of risk factor control with each adverse event.

We identified 816 patients with PAD as diagnosed during 1995 to 1998. Of these patients, 796 had available chart information. The mean age was 65± 9.9 years) and 230 (28.9 percent experienced an adverse limb event (136, lower-extremity bypass; 94, lower-extremity amputation), and 354 (44.5 percent) died. Patients with two or more risk factors other than hypertension had a hazard ratio of 3.1 for lower-extremity bypass surgery. For lower-extremity amputation, modifiable risk factors associated with increased risk included use of lipid-lowering agents < 50 percent of prescribed time and control of diabetes mellitus for fewer than 75 percent of visits. Following the index date, each 10 percent increase in days of antiplatelet therapy reduced risk of death by 10 percent.

Poor lipid and glucose control were associated with increased risk for major limb event. Antiplatelet therapy protected against mortality. These data suggest that risk-factor management (specifically low-density lipoprotein and glucose control) and antiplatelet therapy are critical for a system-based process-of-care approach in PAD patients.

The results of this study will identify the potential role of diabetes and lipid control to reduce adverse limb outcomes in PAD. This information will be disseminated to clinicians, researchers, and policy-makers. We will also translate the results for patients and family members so that our veterans can be informed about PAD.

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None at this time.

DRA: none
DRE: Etiology, Prevention
Keywords: Cardiovasc’r disease, Education (patient), Risk factors
MeSH Terms: none

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