Peripheral Artery Disease

The most common cause of peripheral artery disease (PAD) is atherosclerosis. Less common etiologies include inflammatory disorders of the arterial wall (vasculitis) and noninflammatory arteriopathies, such as fibromuscular dysplasia.

Two broad subtypes of PAD are associated with different risk factor and comorbidity profiles: proximal, involving the aortoiliac and femoro-popliteal locations, and distal, involving the infra-popliteal location. Distal disease may be accompanied by medial arterial calcification that leads to poorly compressible arteries and is associated with higher mortality rates.

Based on the prevalence in cohort studies of an abnormal ankle-brachial index (ABI) — the ratio of systolic blood pressure (BP) at the ankle to the systolic BP in the arm — it's estimated that at least 5 million people in the United States and more than 200 million people worldwide have peripheral artery disease (also called peripheral arterial disease). The total annual costs associated with hospitalization of patients with PAD in the U.S. are estimated to be in excess of $21 billion, a number projected to rise as the population ages.

Research in the Atherosclerosis and Lipid Genomics Lab on PAD includes epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, biomarkers and outcomes.

Adelaide M. Arruda-Olson, M.D., Ph.D., is studying the use of informatics approaches to ascertain PAD from the electronic health record and to conduct population-based epidemiologic studies. In addition, Dr. Arruda-Olson is developing an automated estimation of prognostic scores for PAD with linkage to clinical decision support. Read more about Dr. Arruda-Olson's research.

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