Atherosclerosis of the lower extremities frequently leads to lifestyle-restricting claudication and can cause critical limb ischaemia (rest pain, non-healing ulcer, or gangrene). The prevalence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is rising in line with an ageing population. In the USA, PAD affects 8–10 million people (approximately 12% of the adult population). There is a strong association with concomitant coronary artery and cerebral vascular disease in these patients, which represents a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with PAD. Disease affecting the lower extremity peripheral vessels is most aggressive in smokers and diabetics.
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Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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