Optimal medical management before lower extremity bypass for claudication in the veteran population

Christopher R. Williams, Angela Jellison, Luke Martin, Chong Zhang, Angela P. Presson, Larry W. Kraiss, Benjamin S. Brooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: Optimizing medical management through glucose control, smoking cessation, and drug therapy (ie, antiplatelet and statin agents) is recommended as first-line therapy for patients with claudication. The aims of this study were to determine how frequently veterans with claudication received optimal medical management (OMM) before undergoing elective open lower extremity bypass procedures nationwide and whether preoperative OMM was associated with improved surgical outcomes. Methods: We reviewed all patients within the Veterans Affairs (VA) Surgical Quality Improvement Program database who underwent elective open lower extremity bypass procedures for claudication at nationwide VA medical centers from 2005 until 2015. We defined OMM as a claudicant's having documentation of receiving all of the following within 12 months before surgery: prescriptions for antiplatelet, statin, and smoking cessation therapy (if a smoker) and monitoring of hemoglobin A 1c (if diabetic). Outcome measures included occurrence of any 30-day VA Surgical Quality Improvement Program complication, amputation-free survival, and 30-day and 1-year mortality. We used multivariate regression and Cox proportional hazards models incorporating inverse probability treatment weighting to analyze the effect of OMM on outcome measures after adjusting for patient-level confounding. Results: Among 10,271 lower extremity bypass procedures performed, 2265 (22%) were undertaken in claudicants with a median age of 63 years (interquartile range, 58-68 years). Of claudicants, 839 (37%) were diabetic, and 1333 (59%) patients smoked within 12 months before surgery. OMM was achieved in only 581 (26%) claudicants before they underwent surgery, although adherence to individual components was variable: antiplatelet, 55%; statin, 63%; smoking cessation, 58%; and hemoglobin A 1c monitoring, 92%. In risk-adjusted analyses, there were no statistically significant differences in complication rates, amputation-free survival, or mortality outcomes among patients who received OMM compared with non-OMM patients. Conclusions: Only a quarter of veterans with claudication were documented as receiving OMM within the year before undergoing open lower extremity bypass across nationwide VA medical centers, highlighting the need for strategies to ensure that medical therapy is intensified before surgical revascularization. Nevertheless, our data showed that documentation of preoperative OMM did not lead to improved short- or long-term postoperative outcomes in these patients, suggesting that more objective measures of medical management are needed to ensure that peripheral arterial disease goals are achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-554
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Drug therapy
  • Glucose control
  • Intermittent claudication
  • Lower extremity bypass
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Smoking cessation


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