BACKGROUND: Patients with peripheral arterial disease constitute a high-risk population. Guideline-recommended medical therapy use is therefore of utmost importance. The aims of our study were to establish the patterns of guideline-recommended medication use in patients with PAD at the time of vascular surgery and after 3 years of follow up, and to evaluate the effect of these therapies on long-term mortality in this patient group.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Data on 711 consecutive patients with peripheral arterial disease undergoing vascular surgery were collected from 11 hospitals in the Netherlands (enrollment between May and December 2004). After 3.1+/-0.1 years of follow-up, information on medication use was obtained by a questionnaire (n=465; 84% response rate among survivors). Guideline-recommended medical therapy use for the combination of aspirin and statins in all patients and beta-blockers in patients with ischemic heart disease was 41% in the perioperative period. The use of perioperative evidence-based medication was associated with a reduction of 3-year mortality after adjustment for clinical characteristics (hazard ratio, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.45 to 0.94). After 3 years of follow-up, aspirin was used in 74%, statins in 69%, and beta-blockers in 54% of the patients respectively. Guideline-recommended medical therapy use for the combination of aspirin, statins, and beta-blockers was 50%.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of guideline recommended therapies in the perioperative period was associated with reduction in long-term mortality in patients with peripheral arterial disease. However, the proportion of patients receiving these evidence-based treatments-both at baseline and 3 years after vascular surgery-was lower than expected based on the current guidelines. These data highlight a clear opportunity to improve the quality of care in this high-risk group of patients.