Symptomatic and asymptomatic peripheral artery disease and the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study

Caitlin W. Hicks, Ada Al-Qunaibet, Ning Ding, Lucia Kwak, Aaron R. Folsom, Hirofumi Tanaka, Thomas Mosley, Lynne E. Wagenknecht, Weihong Tang, Gerardo Heiss, Kunihiro Matsushita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background and aims: Symptomatic peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a risk factor for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). However, data on the association of asymptomatic PAD with AAA are limited. We explored the association of symptomatic and asymptomatic PAD with AAA. Methods: We primarily assessed a prospective association of symptomatic (based on clinical history) and asymptomatic (ankle-brachial index ≤0.9) PAD at baseline (1987–89 [ages 45–64 years]) with incident AAA in a biracial community-based cohort, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. We secondarily investigated a cross-sectional association of PAD with ultrasound-based AAA (diameter≥3.0 cm) (2011–13 [ages 67–91 years]). Results: Of 14,148 participants (55.1% female, 25.5% black, 0.9% with symptomatic PAD) in our prospective analysis (median follow-up 22.5 years), 530 (3.7%) developed incident AAA. Symptomatic PAD had a higher hazard ratio (HR) of incident AAA [4.91 (95%CI 2.88–8.37)], as did asymptomatic PAD with ABI≤0.9 [2.33 (1.55–3.51)], compared to the reference ABI>1.1–1.2 in demographically-adjusted models. Crude 15-year cumulative incidence of AAA in these three groups were 12.3%, 3.9%, and 1.5%, respectively. The associations remained significant after accounting for other potential confounders [corresponding HR 2.96 (95%CI 1.73–5.07) and 1.52 (95%CI 1.00–2.30), respectively]. The cross-sectional analysis demonstrated similar patterns with ultrasound-based AAA [odds ratio 2.46 (95%CI 1.26–4.81) for symptomatic PAD and 3.98 (1.96–8.08) for asymptomatic PAD in a demographically-adjusted model]. Conclusions: Our prospective and cross-sectional data show elevated risk of AAA in both symptomatic and asymptomatic PAD. Our data support the current recommendation of AAA screening in symptomatic PAD patients and suggest the potential extension to asymptomatic PAD patients as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services , under Contract No. ( HHSN268201700001I , HHSN268201700002I , HHSN268201700003I , HHSN268201700005I , HHSN268201700004I ). Dr. Hicks was supported by NIH/NIDDK grant K23DK124515 . Dr. Matsushita was supported by NIH/NHLBI grant R21HL133694 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Asymptomatic
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Screening
  • Symptomatic


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