Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a manifestation of systemic arteriosclerosis. It is a common disease affecting millions of people. Depending on the age of the investigated population prevalences between 4% to 29% has been reported. It is alarming that the prevalence is expected to rise in the following decades due to the aging of the western population and the increase of risk factors such as diabetes mellitus, obesity and lack of exercise. Patients with PAD are of an increased risk of cardiovascular events and mortality. In addition, they may also experience signifi cant limitations in their physical functioning and impairment in their quality of life. It is important to diagnose patients with PAD early in the course of the disease to provide them optimal treatment as soon as possible in attempting to lower the complication rates, improve morbidity, mortality and subsequent their quality of life. However, symptoms of PAD are diverse. The classical symptoms are intermittent claudication consisted of calf pain provoked by walking and declining at rest. Earlier investigations, on the other hand, have demonstrated a large range of symptoms ranging from no pain at all till pain at rest . A major problem is that between 20% till 50% of the patients are asymptomatic . Commonly, to identify patients with PAD the resting ankle brachial index (ABI) is used. This is the ratio between the ankle’s systolic blood pressure, measured at the dorsalis pedis or posterial tibial arterie using a Doppler ultrasonic instrument, and the systolic blood pressure at the arm. An ABI below 0.90 is associated with angiographic stenosis of more than 50% . According to the guidelines a resting ABI of < 0.90 is defi ned as PAD. Several studies have found that an ABI of < 0.90 is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and mortality. Moreover it can also be used for prognostic risk stratifi cation.

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D. Poldermans (Don)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Netherlands Heart Foundation,J.E. Jurriaanse Stichting,Erasmus MC Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Liefde, I.I. (2011, February 9). The impact of exercise capacity in the atherosclerotic patient: Keep on walking!. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/22538