Leg Symptoms May Signal Serious Disease, Study Finds

A recent study found that certain leg symptoms can be indicators of peripheral artery disease (PAD), affecting 1 in 20 Americans over 50. The study showed equal treatment outcomes for men and women with PAD, highlighting the need for equal representation in trials.

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Wojciech Zylm
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Leg Symptoms May Signal Serious Disease, Study Finds

Leg Symptoms May Signal Serious Disease, Study Finds

A recent study has found that certain leg symptoms could be indicators of a serious disease called peripheral artery disease (PAD). The study, presented at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI) annual meeting, highlights the potential signs and risks associated with PAD.

Why this matters: The study's findings have significant implications for public health, as PAD affects a substantial portion of the population over 50 and can lead to severe consequences if left untreated. Early recognition of leg symptoms and equal representation of women in PAD trials are crucial for improving treatment outcomes and reducing the risk of amputation and death.

PAD is a debilitating condition that affects approximately 1 in 20 Americans over the age of 50. It causes narrowed arteries in the legs, leading to pain, difficulties walking, and an increased risk of amputation if left untreated. The study, led by Dr. Serdar Farhan of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, tracked outcomes for 639 patients who underwent endovascular procedures or bypass surgeries for PAD, with 29% of participants being women.

The researchers found no significant differences in outcomes between men and women, including death, major amputation, or the need for a repeat procedure on the same limb. Endovascular procedures were associated with shorter post-operative hospital stays and lower complication rates compared to bypass surgeries for both men and women.

Dr. Farhan emphasized the importance of the study's findings, stating,"While the findings of the study are of value considering the scarce data on PAD treatment in women, they are also a strong reminder that we must do better in enrolling women in PAD trials. "Dr. George Dangas, SCAI president, added,"Evidence-based data on treatment outcomes for all patients are critically important forindividualized care."

The study revealed that 9% of women who underwent endovascular treatment experienced complications within 30 days, compared to 26% of those who underwent bypass surgery. Additionally, 41% of women and 40% of men experienced death, amputation, or the need for a repeat procedure within 30 days of angioplasty and/or stenting, while 42% of women and 34.4% of men experienced these outcomes after bypass surgery.

The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) provides more information on PAD for those seeking additionalresources. The study's findings underscore the importance of recognizing leg symptoms as potential signs of a serious disease and the need for equal representation of women in PAD trials to ensure optimal treatment outcomes for all patients.

Key Takeaways

  • PAD affects 1 in 20 Americans over 50, causing pain, walking difficulties, and amputation risk.
  • Early recognition of leg symptoms is crucial for improving treatment outcomes and reducing amputation/death risk.
  • Endovascular procedures have shorter hospital stays and lower complication rates than bypass surgeries for PAD.
  • Women and men have equal outcomes for PAD treatment, but women are underrepresented in PAD trials.
  • Equal representation of women in PAD trials is essential for optimal treatment outcomes for all patients.