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Joint guidelines offer recommendations for treating peripheral artery disease



Newly released criteria aim to advise clinicians about the most appropriate interventions for managing peripheral artery disease.

The report, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, drew on the expertise of a broad panel of experts, including representatives from the American Heart Association, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Interventional Radiology, and Society for Vascular Medicine.

“Improvements in the diagnosis of peripheral artery disease (PAD) have led to an increasing number of treatment and revascularization methods, especially endovascular interventions,” wrote Steven R. Bailey, MD, who headed the multidisciplinary writing committee. “As new and increasingly sophisticated devices are developed, the medical community needs to understand how best to incorporate these technologies into daily clinical decision making and care, and how to choose between new and more established methods. This project was initiated to respond to this need and to ensure the effective use of peripheral artery revascularization.”

The document is not intended to cover every possible clinical scenario that could employ these interventions, wrote Dr. Bailey, who is the Janey Briscoe Distinguished Chair in Cardiology at the University of Texas, San Antonio, and his coauthors. “Rather, the goal is to provide generalized guidance into the use of these devices and techniques, while understanding that each clinical situation is unique, with physicians using their best judgment and the available evidence base to craft the most beneficial approach for the patient. In all cases, it is assumed that guideline-directed medical therapy should be applied first.”

The panel identified 45 scenarios in key clinical areas in which PAD interventions – either surgical or endovascular procedures – might be employed as first-line therapy. These included renal artery stenosis, lower extremity disease, critical limb ischemia, and asymptomatic artery disease. The report also discussed options for endovascular interventions, and secondary treatment options for lower extremity disease. The panel graded the value of interventions as appropriate, may be appropriate, or rarely appropriate.

“The scenarios in this document are arranged according to the clinical decision points confronting vascular practitioners in everyday clinical practice,” the panel wrote. “These include the presence or absence of symptoms, presence or absence of limb-threatening disease, severity and anatomical location of the culprit lesion, recurrent or de novo disease, the advantage of endovascular or surgical revascularization, and the expected durability of clinical benefit after an intervention.”

Renal artery stenting

Recommendations in this category were largely based on the CORAL (Cardiovascular Outcomes in Renal Atherosclerotic Lesions) study, which recommends best medical therapy as the initial treatment for a newly diagnosed patient. (N Engl J Med 2014;370:13-22).

The optimal medical approach is generally thought to be three antihypertensive medications, one of which should be a diuretic. Primary stenting can be considered for patients with an accelerating decline in renal function and bilateral or solitary significant renal artery stenosis, or moderate stenosis with translesional gradients that exceed threshold measurements. In patients with stable renal function and unilateral significant stenosis, intensifying medical therapy is appropriate. Stenting is rarely appropriate in patients with small, nonviable kidneys.


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