Evidence-Based Recommendations for Medical Management of Peripheral Artery Disease

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2021 Jun 1;28(6):573-583. doi: 10.5551/jat.62778. Epub 2021 Mar 21.


Patients with lower limb artery stenosis or occlusion (peripheral artery disease; PAD) have been determined to be at very high risk of both major adverse cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction and stroke, and major adverse limb events, such as amputation and requirement for artery surgery.Effective medical management has been identified as key in reducing this risk; however, this is often poorly implemented in clinical practice. Thus, the aim of this narrative review was to summarize the current evidence on the medical management of PAD in order to inform clinicians and highlight recommendations for clinical practice. International guidelines, randomized controlled trials, and relevant systematic reviews and meta-analyses have been included in this study. The focus was the management of the key modifiable risk factors to mitigate possible adverse events through prescription of anti-platelet and anticoagulation drugs and medications to control low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes and aid smoking cessation. The available evidence from randomized clinical trials provide a strong rationale for the need for holistic medical management programs that are effective in achieving uptake of these medical therapies in patients with PAD. In conclusion, people with PAD have some of the highest adverse event rates among those with cardiovascular diseases. Secondary preventive measures have been proven effective in reducing these adverse events; however, they remain to be adequately implemented. Thus, the need for an effective implementation program has emerged to reduce adverse events in this patient group.

Keywords: Medical management; Modifiable risk factors; Secondary prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Practice* / methods
  • Evidence-Based Practice* / trends
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control
  • Patient Care Management* / methods
  • Patient Care Management* / standards
  • Patient Care Management* / trends
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease* / epidemiology
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease* / therapy
  • Risk Adjustment
  • Stroke / prevention & control