Symptomatology and Anatomic Patterns of Peripheral Vascular Disease: Differing Impact of Smoking and Diabetes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Annals of Vascular Surgery








atherosclerosis; diabetes and smoking; peripheral; Peripheral vascular disease


We retrospectively examined the impact of smoking and diabetes on the clinical presentation and arteriographic pattern of occlusion in 227 patients evaluated for symptomatic infrainguinal arterial disease. The age at which significant symptomatology developed did not differ for diabetics and nondiabetics. Diabetics had significantly more occlusion in the large arteries of the calf, however, particularly in the peroneal and posterior tibial arteries. Despite this, the extent of occlusive disease in the pedal arch was not influenced by diabetes. Diabetics also tended to present more frequently with gangrene or ulcer (> 70%) when compared to nondiabetic smokers (41%, p < .01). Smokers presented with symptomatic disease earlier than nonsmokers (p < .0005). Intermittent claudication was strongly associated with smoking; among 33 patients with claudication, 32 were smokers. In contrast to the effect of diabetes, smokers appeared to have less extensive occlusive disease in the large arteries of the calf than nonsmokers. Nondiabetic nonsmokers constituted less than 10% of our study population and presented at a significantly older age. Nevertheless, despite the absence of either risk factor, this group also tended to present with gangrene or ulcer relatively frequently (71%). Although diabetes and smoking are both risk factors for atherosclerotic disease, we conclude that their impact on the angiographic pattern of occlusion and clinical presentation differs substantially. © 1989, Annals of Vascular Surgery, Inc.. All rights reserved.

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