, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 279-285

Prevalence of Peripheral Arterial Disease – Results of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study

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Background: This report presents population-based estimates of the prevalence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), chronic critical limb ischemia (CLI), and Moenckeberg’s medial calcinosis (MC) in Germany. Patients and methods: From the year 2000 to 2003, a total of 4,814 subjects aged 45–75 years were included in the study. In 30 of the subjects (0.6%), determination of the ankle brachial index (ABI) was not possible, leaving 4,735 subjects (99.4%) in the data set. PAD was considered present in all subjects with an ABI < 0.9 in one leg, and/or a history of prior treatment for PAD. CLI was considered present if the highest ankle artery pressure measured < 70 mmHg. Prevalence of MC was calculated for ABI cut-off values of 1.3 and 1.5. Findings: The overall prevalence of PAD according to the ABI criteria was 6.4% among men and 5.1% among women. After accounting for history of PAD, the prevalence increased to 8.2% among men and 5.5% among women. Taking the ABI criteria and medical history into account, males had a higher prevalence of PAD, with large increases in males aged 65–69 and 70–75 years. Chronic CLI was rare in the investigated population, and was found in only five older subjects (0.1%). With the criterion of ABI > 1.3, about 13.3% of males and 6.9% of females had MC. In contrast to PAD, the prevalence of MC did not increase with age. With the criterion of ABI > 1.5, MC was present in only 1.1% and 0.5% of men and women, respectively, but only 30 (0.6%) subjects had incompressible ankle arteries with a cuff pressure > 260 mmHg. Conclusion: Prevalences of PAD based only on ABI generally underestimate the true prevalence of PAD in population-based studies. CLI predominantly affects older subjects. In addition, cut-off values for MC must be newly determined.