Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a highly prevalent public health problem associated with major detrimental effects on quality of life and functional status, and it is also the main cause of limb amputation. More importantly, PAD has been classified as a coronary artery disease equivalent, meaning that patients with a diagnosis of PAD carry a risk for major coronary events equal to that of established coronary artery disease. PAD is also a potent predictor of stroke and death. Despite its frequent occurrence (8 to 10 million Americans are affected), little is known about the natural history of PAD in racial/ethnic minorities, particularly in Hispanics, who represent 12.5% of the United States population. Furthermore, the disease is commonly underdiagnosed and undertreated in this minority group, and outcomes are poorer in Hispanics as compared with whites. Limited access to health care, difficulties for recruitment in population-based studies, and limitations of the noninvasive screening tests are well-established barriers to determine the prevalence and natural history of PAD in Hispanics. Although the most widely used test for assessment of patients at risk for PAD is the ankle-brachial index (ABI), the test has substantial limitations in individuals with diabetes and arterial calcification, which are highly prevalent in Hispanics. The ABI should, therefore, be supplemented by the use of other noninvasive tests, such as the pulse volume recordings (PVR) and toe-brachial index. Besides the use of a combination of diagnostic techniques, the implementation of a research methodology that improves recruitment of Hispanics in population-based studies is necessary to obtain better knowledge of the epidemiology of the disease in this group. Community-based participatory research may be the most appropriate approach to study this ethnic minority because it overcomes barriers for limited access to health care and increases the possibility of overcoming distrust of research on the part of communities. Understanding the epidemiology of PAD to improve its detection and treatment among Hispanics is relevant to reduce disparities in the health status of this group, the most rapidly growing ethnic minority in the United States.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine