Octogenarians develop infrapopliteal arterial occlusive disease in the absence of traditional risk factors

Jared R. Hylton, Caitlin A. Smith, Chin-Shang Li, William C Pevec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background With increasing longevity, a growing proportion of patients who present with lower extremity peripheral arterial disease (LE-PAD) are ≥80 years old. While smoking and diabetes mellitus (DM) have traditionally been the main risk factors associated with PAD, we noted a pattern of severe infrapopliteal PAD in patients ≥80 years old in the absence of these traditional risk factors. As recognition of patterns of disease affects decisions regarding diagnostic and therapeutic approach, we sought to confirm this observation.

Conclusions A significant proportion of patients ≥80 years of age with PAD develop arterial disease in the infrapopliteal pattern in the absence of the traditional risk factors of smoking and DM. Our data also showed that this pattern of disease is significantly associated with tissue loss and critical limb ischemia, particularly in patients ≥80 years of age. Primary care providers need to be educated to suspect ischemic etiology for foot pain and ulcers in elderly patients not otherwise thought to have risk factors associated with PAD. Vascular specialists need to anticipate this pattern of disease when planning interventions. As smoking becomes less prevalent and as the population ages, octogenarians with severe infrapopliteal arterial occlusive disease will become a larger proportion of the patients treated by vascular specialists.

Results Two hundred ninety-seven patients comprised the study population. Eighty-two percent (= 145/176) of those ≤70 years old versus 96% (= 46/48) of those ≥80 years old had any infrapopliteal PAD (P = 0.02). Thirty percent of patients ≥80 years old with infrapopliteal PAD had no history of DM or smoking, while only 5% of younger patients had infrapopliteal PAD in the absence of DM or smoking (P ;lt& 0.0001). A similar pattern was seen for severe infrapopliteal PAD. Tissue loss was an indication for lower extremity arteriography in 45% of those ≤70 years of age versus 65% of those ≥80 (P = 0.022).

Methods A single-center retrospective review was performed on all patients who underwent lower extremity arteriography between March 2007 and September 2009. Arteriograms were scored in a blinded fashion. Any infrapopliteal PAD was defined as one or more infrapopliteal arteries with either >50% stenosis or total occlusion. Severe infrapopliteal PAD was defined as 2 or more infrapopliteal arteries with >50% stenosis or total occlusion. Fisher's exact test and 2-sample t-test or Wilcoxon rank-sum test were used for analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1712-1718
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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