July 1988

Risk Factors Affecting the Natural History of Intermittent Claudication

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago.

Arch Surg. 1988;123(7):867-870. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1988.01400310081013

• To determine the prognostic significance of the level of arterial disease in claudicators, risk factors affecting the progression of intermittent claudication, including hemodynamic variables obtained from noninvasive vascular laboratory examinations, were assessed. We identified 378 patients with intermittent claudication by characteristic history and the presence of abnormal treadmill exercise examination results. Results of serial examinations were available for 195 of these patients, who had 310 claudicating limbs. Life-table analysis revealed that after eight years, 41% of these patients had progressed to critical ischemia, defined as rest pain or tissue loss, and 50% had died. Cox proportional hazards general linear regression analysis found that at a patient's first examination in the vascular laboratory, the ankle-brachial index and the decrease in ankle-brachial index after exercise were significantly associated with the subsequent development of critical ischemia. The level of disease at the initial examination in the vascular laboratory was not a significant risk factor for progression to critical ischemia and therefore should not be used as an indicator for or against operation in patients with intermittent claudication.

(Arch Surg 1988;123:867-870)