J Vasc Surg 2018 02 1;67(2):507-513. Epub 2017 Sep 1.
Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass; Division of Vascular Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn. Electronic address:
Objective: Arterial calcification is associated with an increased risk of limb events, including amputation. The association between calcification in lower extremity arteries and the severity of ischemia, however, has not been assessed. We thus sought to determine whether the extent of peripheral artery calcification (PAC) was correlated with Rutherford chronic ischemia categories and hypothesized that it could independently contribute to worsening limb status.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all patients presenting with symptomatic peripheral artery disease who underwent evaluation by contrast and noncontrast computed tomography scan of the lower extremities as part of their assessment. Demographic and cardiovascular risk factors were recorded. Rutherford ischemia categories were determined based on history, physical examination, and noninvasive testing. PAC scores and the extent of occlusive disease were measured on noncontrast and contrast computed tomography scans, respectively. Spearman's correlation testing was used to assess the relationship between occlusive disease and calcification scores. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with increasing Rutherford ischemia categories.
Results: There were 116 patients identified, including 75 with claudication and 41 with critical limb ischemia. In univariate regression, there was a significant association between increasing Rutherford ischemia category and age, diabetes duration, hypertension, the occlusion score, and PAC. There was a moderate correlation between the extent of occlusive disease and PAC scores (Spearman's R = 0.6). In multivariable analysis, only tobacco use (odds ratio [OR], 3.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-8.3), diabetes duration (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.01-1.08), and the calcification score (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.4-3.2) maintained an association with increasing ischemia categories after adjusting for relevant cardiovascular risk factors and the extent of occlusive disease.
Conclusions: PAC is independently associated with increased ischemia categories in patients with peripheral artery disease. Further research aimed at understanding the relationship between arterial calcification and worsening limb ischemia is warranted.