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Patient Age at Diagnosis of Peripheral Artery Disease and Its Impact on Cardiovascular and Limb Outcomes

      Peripheral artery disease (PAD) prevalence increases with age, but the relation between age at PAD diagnosis and outcomes is unclear. We investigated the cardiovascular and limb outcomes of patients diagnosed with PAD at different ages. We studied patients with PAD aged ≥18 years who were diagnosed between 1996 and 2020 at Mayo Clinic. Patients were grouped by diagnosis age (<50, 50 to 59, 60 to 69, ≥70 years) and ankle brachial index (ABI): low ABI (<1.0) or elevated ABI (>1.4). Primary outcomes were cardiovascular events (CVEs; myocardial infarction or ischemic stroke) and limb events (LEs; critical limb ischemia or amputation). Competing risk analysis was performed to calculate adjusted hazard ratios. The cohort included 22,073 patients with PAD (low ABI: 77.1%; elevated ABI: 22.9%). CVEs were observed in 8.2% of patients and LEs in 15.6%. The highest CVE risk was observed in patients diagnosed with PAD before age 50 (compared with patients diagnosed after age 70; hazard ratio 2.33 [95% confidence interval 1.95 to 2.78]). CVE risk decreased with older age at diagnosis. Although younger groups demonstrated higher LE risk, there was no clear association with diagnosis age. These patterns of risk were seen both in low and elevated ABI subgroups but in greater magnitude with elevated ABI. Younger patients diagnosed with PAD face increased risk of myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke compared with patients diagnosed at an older age. CVE risk notably exceeds LE risk. In conclusion, younger age at PAD diagnosis may be an important risk factor, which warrants more aggressive interventions focused on CVE prevention.
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