Revascularization of intermittent claudicants leads to more chronic limb-threatening ischemia and higher amputation rates

Vashisht Madabhushi, Daniel Davenport, Stuart Jones, Sami Abul Khoudoud, Nathan Orr, David Minion, Eric Endean, Sam Tyagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: There is an increasing incidence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The most common symptomatic presentation of PAD is intermittent claudication (IC), reproducible leg pain with ambulation. The progression of symptoms beyond IC is rare, and a nonprocedural approach of smoking cessation, supervised exercise therapy, and best medical therapy can mitigate progression of IC. Despite the lack of limb- or life-threatening sequelae of IC, invasive treatment strategies of IC have experienced rapid growth. Within our health care system, PAD is treated by multiple disciplines with varying practice patterns, providing an opportunity to investigate the progression of IC based on treatment strategy. This study aims to compare PAD progression and amputation in patients with IC with and without revascularization. Methods: This institutional review board-approved, single institute retrospective study reviewed all patients with an initial diagnosis of IC between June 11, 2003, and April 24, 2019. Revascularization was defined as endovascular or open. Time to chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI) diagnosis and amputation were stratified by revascularization status using the Kaplan-Meier method. The association between revascularization status and each of CLTI progression and amputation using multivariable Cox regression, adjusting for demographic and clinical potential confounding variables was assessed. Results: We identified 1051 patients who met the inclusion criteria. Of these patients, 328 had at least one revascularization procedure and 723 did not. The revascularized group was younger than the nonrevascularized group (60.3 years vs 62.1 years; P = .013). There was no significant difference in sex or comorbidities in the two groups other than a higher rate of diabetes mellitus type 2 (32.3% vs 16.3%; P < .001) and COPD (4.3% vs 1.7%; P = .017) in the revascularized group. Multivariable Cox regression found revascularization of patients with IC to be significantly associated with the progression to CLTI (hazard ratio, 2.9; 95% confidence interval, 2.0-4.2) and amputation (hazard ratio, 4.5; 95% confidence interval, 2.2-9.5). These findings were also demonstrated in propensity-matched cohorts of 218 revascularized and 340 nonrevascularized patients. Conclusions: Revascularization of patients with IC is associated with an increased rate of progression to CLTI and increased amputation rates. Given these findings, further studies are required to identify which, if any, patients with IC benefit from revascularization procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-779
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Amputation
  • CLTI
  • Intermittent Claudication
  • Revascularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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