Low-Cost Testing for Peripheral Artery Disease May Reduce Disparity and Amputation Risk

By Tamara Thomas - July 12, 2023

Low-cost preventive measures may help reduce care disparities and the risk of amputation for people with peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to a report published by the American Heart Association.

Previous research found that patients with PAD are at an increased risk for limb amputation and death from cardiovascular disease. “This debilitating condition has devastating outcomes… Which often leads to lower quality of life and increased disability,” Carlos Mena-Hurtado, MD, FACC, FSCAI, FAHA, chair of the statement writing group, said in a news release.

The report summarizes the ethnic and racial disparities in treating and managing PAD and suggests ways to improve care. It states that nearly 1 in 3 Black adults may develop PAD compared with 1 in 5 White or Hispanic adults. Black adults with PAD also face a disproportionately higher risk of leg or foot amputation than their peers.

Furthermore, the authors noted that Black, Hispanic, and American Indian people with PAD have lower survival rates and worse quality of life after amputation than White adults. However, despite the lower survival rates, these populations were less likely to be offered alternative treatments to amputations, such as surgery, to restore blood flow in certain regions.

According to the authors, integrating low-cost PAD testing into routine care and regularly monitoring those with PAD and Type 2 diabetes can help reduce these disparities by preventing amputation and other risks.

“High-risk patients should routinely receive low-cost preventive measures,” said Mena-Hurtado, “It is essential that health care professionals understand these disparities in PAD prevalence and outcomes to provide appropriate, evidence-based care and bridge the gaps in the treatment of this diverse patient population.”

The authors also called for people with PAD to quit smoking, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly to reduce cardiovascular risk, death, and amputation rates. “Preventing problems before they occur may help to improve quality of life and reduce health care costs in the long run for people with PAD,” Mena-Hurtado concluded.

Source: AHA

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