Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Fate in intermittent claudication: outcome and risk factors.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 01 November 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:1137
  1. R Jelnes,
  2. O Gaardsting,
  3. K Hougaard Jensen,
  4. N Baekgaard,
  5. K H Tønnesen,
  6. T Schroeder


    The fate of 257 consecutive patients (100 women) aged 36-85 years (mean 65) first seen with intermittent claudication in 1977 was analysed after a mean of 6.5 (SD 0.5) years. When first seen none of the patients complained of rest pain or had ulcers or gangrenous lesions on the feet. At follow up 113 of the patients (44%) had died. Causes of death were no different from those in the general population. Mortality was twice that of the general population matched for age and sex. Mortality among the men was twice that among the women. In men under 60 mortality was four times that expected. The rate of clinical progression of the arteriosclerotic disease (that is, rest pain or gangrene) of the worst affected leg was 7.5% in the first year after referral. Thereafter the rate was 2.2% a year. An ankle systolic blood pressure below 70 mm Hg, a toe systolic blood pressure below 40 mm Hg, or an ankle/arm pressure index below 50% were individually significantly associated with progression of the arteriosclerotic disease. These findings show the importance of peripheral blood pressure measurements in the management of patients with intermittent claudication due to arteriosclerotic disease.