Patients with peripheral arterial disease were less likely to have a complication 6 months after treatment for blocked leg arteries if they quit smoking and took an aspirin and statin before beginning treatment. However, few patients made lifestyle changes and were on the recommended medical therapy, according to a recently published study.

Using the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium Peripheral Vascular Intervention (BMC2 PVI) database, researchers identified 1,357 peripheral vascular intervention encounters between January 2007 and December 2009 for the purpose of treating claudication. Prior to intervention, 85% of patients used aspirin, 76% used statin, 65% abstained from smoking and 47% of patients did all three.

Overall, there was no difference in cardiovascular events among patients taking an aspirin and a statin on admission vs. patients who were not. However, the odds of having an adverse peripheral vascular outcome, such as repeat peripheral intervention, amputation or limb salvage surgery, within 6 months decreased by more than half in patients who received aspirin and statin therapy before peripheral vascular intervention compared with patients who received neither.

“Although a considerable effort has been focused on the impact of guideline adherence in patients with heart attack and heart failure, there are currently no such national programs focused on patients with peripheral arterial disease,” P. Michael Grossman, MD, an interventional cardiologist at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, stated in a press release.

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