Objective: Cardiovascular disease may be increased in patients with systemic vasculitides (SV). The Ankle-Brachial Pressure Index (ABPI) is a non-invasive tool for the assessment of cardiovascular risk (CV). Our aim was to determine the prevalence of an abnormal ABPI in patients with SV and healthy controls and to correlate with clinical and serological parameters.
Methods: We studied 54 consecutive vasculitis patients (20 males) attending the vasculitis clinic and 49 healthy subjects. Patients were classified according to the ACR 1990 criteria and the Chapel Hill Consensus definitions. There were 18 patients with Wegener's granulomatosis, eight with Behcet's disease, seven with Churg-Strauss Syndrome, three with Henoch-Schonlein purpura, three with polyarteritis nodosa, three with Takayasu's disease, three with p-ANCA associated vasculitis, three with urticarial vasculitis, two with cutaneous leucocytoclastic angiitis, one with microscopic polyangiitis, one with primary central nervous system angiitis, one giant cell arteritis and one with cutaneous vasculitis secondary to Sjogren's syndrome. Traditional risk factors as well as glucose, lipid profile, CRP, hsCRP, ANCA and aPL were assessed. ABPI was measured according to a consensus statement on the methodology.
Results: The ABPI was abnormal in 11/54 (20.4%) of SV patients and 2/49 (4%) of the control group (chi(2) with Yates correction = 4.8, P <or= 0.03). CV events were more prevalent in the SV patients with abnormal ABPI (45.5% vs 11.6%, P <or= 0.01).
Conclusions: There is an increased prevalence of an abnormal ABPI in patients with systemic vasculitides implying an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This simple tool may be clinically useful in identifying systemic vasculitis patients at risk of accelerated atherosclerosis.