Underutilization of medical management of peripheral artery disease among patients with claudication undergoing lower extremity bypass.

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Journal of vascular surgery


OBJECTIVE: First-line treatment of peripheral artery disease (PAD) involves medical therapy and lifestyle modification. Multiple professional organizations such as the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology make Class I recommendations for medical management including antiplatelet, statin, antihypertensive, and cilostazol medications, as well as lifestyle therapy including exercise and smoking cessation. Although evidence supports up-front medical and lifestyle management prior to surgical intervention, it is unclear how well this occurs in contemporary clinical practice. It is also unclear whether variability in first-line treatment prior to revascularization is associated with postoperative outcomes. This study examined the proportion of patients with claudication actively receiving evidence-based therapy prior to surgery in a statewide surgical registry.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adult patients undergoing elective open lower extremity bypass for claudication from 2012 to 2021 within a statewide surgical quality registry. The primary exposure was optimal medical therapy, defined as an antiplatelet agent, a statin, and an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin II receptor blocker (if the patient had hypertension) on the patient's home medication list on admission for surgery, all of which are Class I recommendations. Despite also being Class I recommendations, cilostazol was not included in the primary exposure due to its highly selective use and our inability to capture intolerance and/or contraindications that are common, and lifestyle therapies were not included as they were only recorded at the time of discharge rather than preoperatively. The primary outcomes were mortality, hospital readmission, amputation, wound complication, myocardial infarction (MI), non-patent bypass, and non-independent ambulatory status at 30 days and 1 year after surgery. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to estimate the association of receiving optimal vs non-optimal medical therapy.

RESULTS: A total of 3829 patients with claudication underwent bypass surgery during the study period, with a mean age of 64.8 years (standard deviation, 9.8 years); 2690 (70.3%) were males, and 1873 (48.9%) were current smokers. Of the patients, 1822 (47.6%) were on optimal medical therapy prior to surgery. Additionally, at discharge, 66.5% of smokers received referral to smoking cessation therapy, and 54.1% of patients received referral to exercise therapy. In a multivariable logistic regression, compared with patients not on optimal medical therapy, patients on optimal medical therapy prior to surgery had lower 30-day odds of mortality (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.26-0.78) and MI (aOR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.28-0.76), lower 1-year odds of mortality (aOR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.39-0.82), MI (aOR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.32-0.74), and lower readmission (aOR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64-0.96).

CONCLUSION: Although medical and lifestyle management is recommended as first-line treatment for patients with PAD, only one-half of patients were on optimal medical therapy prior to surgery. Patients receiving optimal therapy had a lower risk of postoperative mortality, MI, and readmission. This suggests that not only are there significant opportunities to improve clinical utilization of evidence-based treatment of PAD, but that doing so can benefit patients postoperatively.


Online ahead of print.

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