Incidence and natural history of asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease in the general population

G. C. Leng, A. J. Lee, F. G. R. Fowkes, Martha Whiteman, J. Dunbar, E. Housley, C. V. Ruckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Intermittent claudication is associated with a poor prognosis, but less is known of the risks associated with asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease. The aims of this study were to determine the incidence and natural history of claudication, and the incidence of cardiovascular events in symptomatic and asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease.

Methods In 1988, 1592 subjects aged 55–74 years were selected randomly from the age-sex registers of 10 general practices in Edinburgh, Scotland. The presence of peripheral arterial disease was determined by the World Health Organization questionnaire on Intermittent claudication, the ankle brachial pressure Index and a reactive hyperaemia test. This cohort was followed prospectively over 5 years for subsequent cardiovascular events and death.

Results One hundred and sixteen new cases of claudication were identified (incidence density 15.5 per 1000 person-years). Of those with claudication at baseline, 28.8% still had pain after 5 years, 8.2% underwent vascular surgery or amputation, and 1.4% developed leg ulceration. Claudicants had a significantly increased risk of developing angina compared with normals (RR: 2.31, 95% Cl: 1.04–5.10), and asymptomatic subjects had a slightly Increased risk of myo-cardial infarction and stroke. Deaths from cardiovascular disease were more likely in both claudicants (RR: 2.67, 95% Cl: 1.34–5.29) and subjects with major (RR: 2.08, 95% CI: 1.13–3.83) or minor asymptomatic disease (RR: 1.74, 95% Cl: 1.09–2.76). Subjects with major asymptomatic disease also had an increased risk of non-cardiovascular death (RR: 2.19, 95% Cl: 1.33–3.59), and therefore had the highest overall risk of death (RR: 2.44, 95% Cl: 1.59–3.74).

Conclusions Subjects with asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease appear to have the same increased risk of cardiovascular events and death found In claudicants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1172-1181
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1996


Dive into the research topics of 'Incidence and natural history of asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease in the general population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this