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Call for routine ABI screening to pick up asymptomatic PAD

By Nigel Praities

Asymptomatic patients with peripheral arterial disease have the same risk of all-cause and cardiovascular death as symptomatic patients, say German researchers.

In evidence from 6,880 elderly patients that supports calls for routine ankle-brachial index screening in primary care, the researchers showed both asymptomatic and symptomatic PAD patients had nearly double the risk of all-cause death compared with those without PAD.

Approximately 60% of all patients with PAD are thought to be asymptomatic. This research, presented this week at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Munich, found among traditional risk factors, the presence of PAD was the strongest predictor for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular death at five years.patients with asymptomatic PAD and symptomatic PAD also had double the risk of cardiovascular death.

Dr Jonathan Morrell, a GP in Hastings, East Sussex, and a hospital practitioner in cardiology, said the data supported routine ABI screening in primary care to pick up patients whose PAD may not be known to GPs.

'In many of these patients they are not asymptomatic, they just do not have the classic symptoms of claudication and so their pains are blamed on arthritis or statin treatment,' he said.

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