Indexed on: 15 Aug '18Published on: 15 Aug '18Published in: Vascular medicine (London, England)
Lower extremity arterial thromboembolism is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. We sought to establish temporal trends in the incidence, management and outcomes of lower extremity arterial thromboembolism within the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System (VAHS). We identified patients admitted to VAHS between 2003 and 2014 with a primary diagnosis of lower extremity arterial thromboembolism. Medical and procedural management were ascertained from pharmaceutical and administrative data. Subsequent rates of major adverse limb events (MALE), major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), and mortality were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models. From 2003 to 2014, there were 10,636 patients hospitalized for lower extremity thromboembolism across 140 facilities, of which 8474 patients had adequate comorbid information for analysis. Age-adjusted incidence decreased from 7.98 per 100,000 patients (95% CI: 7.28-8.75) in 2003 to 3.54 (95% CI: 3.14-3.99) in 2014. On average, the likelihood of receiving anti-platelet or anti-thrombotic therapy increased 2.3% (95% CI: 1.2-3.4%) per year during this time period and the likelihood of undergoing endovascular revascularization increased 4.0% (95% CI: 2.7-5.4%) per year. Clinical outcomes remained constant over time, with similar rates of MALE, MACE and mortality at 1 year after adjustment. In conclusion, the incidence of lower extremity arterial thromboembolism is decreasing, with increasing utilization of anti-thrombotic therapies and endovascular revascularization among those with this condition. Despite this evolution in management, patients with lower extremity thromboembolism continue to experience high rates of amputation and death within a year of the index event.