Although patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) are known to have an increased risk of adverse prognosis, simple techniques to further risk-stratify PAD patients would be clinically useful. A plausible but unexplored factor to predict such risk would be greater disease burden, manifested as multiple lower extremity lesions. The aim of this study was to examine the association between having multiple versus isolated lower extremity PAD lesions and long-term prognosis.
Methods and results:
A prospective cohort of 756 newly diagnosed PAD patients underwent duplex ultrasound testing to determine the number of lower extremity lesions. Cox regression models examined the independent association of lesion number (≥3 and 2 versus 1) and adverse prognosis (defined as a composite end point comprising first occurrence of either lower extremity amputation, admission for heart failure, nonfatal stroke, myocardial infarction, or unstable angina or mortality), adjusting for demographic and clinical risk factors. Analyses were replicated using an advanced Cox-based model for multiple events. A total of 173 patients (23%) had ≥3 lesions, 197 (26%) had 2 lesions, and 386 (51%) had 1 lesion. After a median follow-up of 3.2 years, patients with ≥3 lesions had an increased risk of experiencing a first adverse event (adjusted hazard ratio 1.60, 95% CI 1.08-2.38, P=0.020) and an increased risk of having multiple events (adjusted hazard ratio 1.53, 95% CI 1.08-2.18, P=0.018). Patients with 2 lesions had a prognosis similar to those with 1 lesion.
Among PAD patients, a greater number of lesions is associated with an increased risk of an adverse prognosis over 3 years of follow-up. Assessing the number of lower extremity lesions might serve as a simple risk-stratification tool at initial PAD diagnosis.