The implementation of evidence-based secondary medical prevention in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) patients has received increasing attention in recent years, but population-based data are sparse. This study examined the use of secondary medical prophylaxis in unselected symptomatic PAD patients in Denmark.
A nationwide follow-up study based on individual-level record linkages of population-based healthcare registers was performed.
All patients who underwent primary vascular reconstruction in Denmark between 1996 and 2006 with a minimum of 6 months of follow-up were included (n = 16,492).
Data were obtained from prescriptions that were filled six months after primary vascular reconstruction (±90 days). The use of secondary medical prevention was examined according to calendar year and place of residence.
The use of lipid-lowering drugs increased from 32.2% in 1996 to 76.1% in 2006 (adjusted relative risk (RR) 1.95, 95% CI 1.81-2.10). The overall use of antihypertensive therapy was unchanged during the study period, but treatment shifted from diuretics/calcium antagonists towards angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor antagonists. The use of combination therapy (concomitant lipid-lowering, antiplatelet and any antihypertensive therapies) increased from 29.1% in 1996 to 67.6% in 2006 (adjusted RR 1.95, 95% CI 1.80-2.12). This shift in the use of secondary medical prevention was independent of sociodemographic and clinical factors. No substantial differences in pharmacological use based on place of residence were observed.
The use of evidence-based secondary medical prevention, especially lipid-lowering drugs, increased substantially among symptomatic PAD patients in Denmark from 1996 to 2006. However, recommendations in current clinical guidelines suggest that room for improvement remains.