Older people with an intellectual disability (ID) have been shown to have similar to increased cardiovascular risks as compared to the general population. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), atherosclerosis distal from the aortic bifurcation, is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The prevalence of PAD has not been investigated in this population. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of PAD in older people with ID in The Netherlands, the rate of prior diagnoses, and correlations with participant characteristics, and to compare the prevalence with PAD in the general Dutch population. 771 people aged 50 years and over participated in ankle-brachial index (ABI) measurement as part of a multi-centre cross-sectional study (HA-ID study). PAD was defined as an ABI<0.9. After excluding those, who met the exclusion criteria, 629 participants remained. PAD was present in 20.7% of the participants and 97% had not been diagnosed before. People with higher age, smokers and people who lived in central settings, walked with support and were more dependent in activities of daily living were more at risk of PAD. Prevalence of PAD is higher than in the general population (17.4% of 562 eligible participants with ID, as compared to 8.1% of 917 Dutch participants of the PANDORA study, a pan-European study into the prevalence of PAD) through all age groups. Because the high prevalence of PAD implies a serious health risk for older people with ID, we recommend that ankle-brachial index measurement is to be routinely performed as part of the cardiovascular risk management in this group.
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