Introduction: Up to 20% of adults aged over 55 years have detectable peripheral arterial disease of the legs, but this may cause symptoms of intermittent claudication in only a small proportion of affected people. The main risk factors are smoking and diabetes mellitus, but other risk factors for cardiovascular disease are also associated with peripheral arterial disease.
Methods and outcomes: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of treatments for people with chronic peripheral arterial disease? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to May 2010. Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review. We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results: We found 70 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions: In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: antiplatelet agents, bypass surgery, cilostazol, exercise, pentoxifylline, percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA), prostaglandins, smoking cessation, and statins.