Heart attacks and strokes as a result of atherosclerosis have been ranked for years among the most common causes of deaths in Europe. Another previously underestimated manifestation of atherosclerosis is peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which is closely associated with heart attack or a stroke.
The German epidemiological study on Ankle Brachial Index (getABI) was initiated in 2001 to answer questions about whether a simple screening test on atherosclerosis can be applied to identify it at an early stage, and if so, what risk such patients carry in the future. Professor Curt Diehm from the Clinic Karlsbad-Langensteinbach, an affiliated teaching hospital of the University in Heidelberg, and his co-workers from various renowned medical institutions in Germany presented a 5-year study follow-up.
Professor Diehm explained: “We used the ankle brachial-index (ABI), which is simple to understand and to apply by physicians and nurses. In an individual in the supine position, the blood pressure in the leg arteries is equal to or a little higher than in the arm arteries. If atherosclerotic stenoses in the legs manifests (termed PAD), blood flow after the obstruction decreases, and the pressure in the leg artery is lower than in the arm. This sign is almost and reliable as angiography to identify your atherosclerotic risk patient.”
The study included a total of 6,880 unselected patients in primary care, which underwent ABI testing by their primary care physician. Mean age of the patients was 72.5 years, 58% were females, 46% were past or current smokers, 74% had hypertension, 24% diabetes mellitus and 52% lipid disorders. Of all patients, 18.0% in the total cohort had a pathological ABI test, but the majority of these patients had no clinical signs or complaints.
After a 5-year observation period, all-cause mortality was 24% in patients with symptomatic PAD, 19% with asymptomatic PAD (i.e., pathological ABI but no complaints), and 9% in patients without PAD. Even when all other known risk factors for cardiovascular death were accounted for by statistical means, PAD had the best ability to predict future death, stroke or myocardial infarction.
Professor Diehm said, “The bad news is: we showed that in primary care every fifth patient aged 65 years or older has atherosclerosis in the leg arteries. Because atherosclerosis is not a local process but at the same time progresses in the heart and brain vessels, such patients usually die from heart attacks or stroke. The good news is that the ABI test is not limited to expert use but can be performed in general practice. Thus, family physicians can identify high risk patients and initiate and maintain effective treatment in this large group.”
The study also showed that the extent of the blood pressure difference between legs and arms matters: the higher the spread between both pressures is (in other words: the lower the ABI), the higher is the mortality of patients.
Professsor Diehm said that every effort should be made to implement the ABI screening in standard programs for elderly patients and patients with cardiac risk factors such as diabetes or hypertension. “A huge number of lives could be saved if patients with atherosclerosis would be identified with the ABI, and treated timely.”Reference:
The ESC achieves this through a variety of scientific and educational activities including the coordination of: clinical practice guidelines, education courses and initiatives, pan-European surveys on specific disease areas and the ESC Annual Congress, the largest medical meeting in Europe. The ESC also works closely with the European Commission and WHO to improve health policy in the EU.
The ESC comprises 3 Councils, 5 Associations, 19 Working Groups, 50 National Cardiac Societies and an ESC Fellowship Community (Fellow, FESC; Nurse Fellow, NFESC). For more information on ESC Initiatives, Congresses and Constituent Bodies see www.escardio.org.
ESC Press Office | alfa
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences