Intermittent claudication caused by atherosclerosis in patients aged forty years and younger

R. J. Valentine*, D. C. MacGillivray, J. W. DeNobile, D. A. Snyder, N. M. Rich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Intermittent claudication may represent a severe limitation in daily life-style for young, active patients and may result in loss of professional career for members of the armed forces. Our recent experience with young patients with atherosclerotic claudication was reviewed to determine whether more liberal use of angioplasty and surgery is warranted in these patients to salvage their military careers and improve their life-styles. A systemic review was made of patients aged 40 years and younger with atherosclerosis who have undergone arteriography at our institution during the past 67 months. From this study, 22 patients were found with the initial complaint of intermittent claudication. Fifteen of these patients (68%) had occlusive disease confined to the iliac arteries, and six (27%) had single-level occlusive disease in a femoropopliteal distribution. Only one patient had multilevel disease. Symptoms of coronary occlusive disease developed in five patients (23%) within 38 months of the onset of claudication, and two of these patients died of myocardial infarctions. Of 19 patients who underwent interventions to correct symptoms of claudication, 16 (85%) had complete relief of symptoms at the end of follow-up, ranging from 6 months to 7 years. Ten of these patients remained symptom free after a single intervention, but six patients had rapid progression of disease and required secondary procedures. These results indicate that a majority of young patients with claudication caused by atherosclerosis can be returned to full active-duty status in the military after angioplasty or surgery. However, some patients may require secondary procedures to relieve recurrent symptoms caused by rapid progression of disease. We believe that an aggressive interventional approach is warranted in the evaluation and treatment of young patients with work-limiting claudication caused by atherosclerosis. These patients are at significant risk of developing premature coronary occlusive disease and should be monitored closely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-565
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


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