Peripheral vascular disease: Medical evaluation and treatment

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Peripheral arterial obstructive disease with symptoms of ischemia in the limbs is a common cause of disability, morbidity, and even mortality in the elderly. The most important cause is atherosclerosis, which is ultimately a systemic problem, but the cardinal symptom in the limbs is intermittent claudication. Unfortunately, the elderly patient often displays severe ischemia with pain at rest, and ulceration or gangrene of the extremity, even where there was a paucity of prior claudication, perhaps due to associated illness which reduces mobility. The essential aspects of clinical diagnosis and assessment of severity of ischemia involve relatively simple bedside techniques, and noninvasive laboratory methodology is mainly of value in selection of patients for angiography and potential revascularization. While conventional therapy involves bypass surgery, an expanding array of drugs and the advent of interventional angiographic measures including angioplasty offer alternatives which were not available even a few years ago.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-61
Number of pages15
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1987


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