Atherothrombosis patients face high risk of death, cardiovascular illness

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Research presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) congress in Vienna, Austria, this week found that outpatients with atherothrombosis have a surprisingly high risk of death or major cardiovascular illness. The findings are of particular importance for the over 25 million patients internationally that have peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in the leg.

Data was analyzed from the REACH Registry, an outpatient registry that characterizes event rates and treatment patterns in a broad spectrum of patients with atherothrombosis worldwide. It follows more than 60,000 patients over 4 years, involving 44 countries and 5,000 physician investigators.

According to Alan Hirsch, MD, director of the Minneapolis Heart Institute's vascular medicine program at Abbott Northwestern's Vascular Center in Minneapolis, one in three individuals with PAD face a short-term chance of dying, having a heart attack or stroke or being hospitalized within two years. One in ten will die in this short time frame.

Hirsch, who presented the REACH results at the ESC, said that initiating therapy without delay to reduce this risk is essential.

Despite improved PAD awareness, treatment and diagnosis during the past five years, Hirsch and investigators hypothesized that cardiovascular disease event rates would remain high, and that complacency in treating this disease was not merited. All individuals with PAD, regardless of symptom status or past use of leg angioplasty or leg bypass remained at high risk, according to Hirsch.