Prevalence of peripheral arterial disease: persistence of excess risk in former smokers

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2002;26(3):219-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.2002.tb00677.x.


Objective: To determine the age-standardised prevalence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and associated risk factors, particularly smoking.

Design: Cross-sectional survey of a randomly selected population.

Setting: Metropolitan area of Perth, Western Australia.

Participants: Men aged between 65-83 years.

Results: The adjusted response traction was 77.2%. Of 4,470 men assessed, 744 were identified as having PAD by the Edinburgh Claudication Questionnaire and/ or the ankle-brachial index of systolic blood pressure, yielding an age-standardised prevalence of PAD of 15.6% (95% confidence intervals (CI): 14.5%: 16.6%). The main risk factors identified in univariate analyses were increasing age, smoking-current (OR = 3.9, 95% CI 2.9-5.1) or former (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.6-2.4), physical inactivity (OR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.2-1.7), a history of angina (OR = 2.2, 95% Cl 1.8-2.7) and diabetes mellitus (OR = 2.1, 95% Cl 1.7-2.6). The multivariate analysis showed that the highest relative risk associated with PAD was current smoking of 25 or more cigarettes daily (OR = 7.3, 95% Cl 4.2-12.8). In this population, 32% of PAD was attributable to current smoking and a further 40% was attributable to past smoking by men who did not smoke currently.

Conclusions: This large observational study shows that PAD is relatively common in older, urban Australian men. In contrast with its relationship to coronary disease and stroke, previous smoking appears to have a long legacy of increased risk of PAD.

Implications: This research emphasises the importance of smoking as a preventable cause of PAD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arteries / pathology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time
  • Urban Health
  • Western Australia / epidemiology