• Vol. 39 No. 7, 525–531
  • 15 July 2010

Peripheral Arterial Disease in Community-based Patients with Diabetes in Singapore: Results from a Primary Healthcare Study



Introduction: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is an important complication of diabetes mellitus (DM), significantly associated with increased morbidity and mortality secondary to amputations, strokes and coronary artery disease. Information on DM patients with PAD is limited in our ethnically diverse population in Singapore. We aimed to determine the prevalence, risk factors and co-morbidities of PAD in patients managed for DM in the primary care setting.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 521 diabetics in 9 of the 18 government-aided clinics in the community. Data including demographics, presence of co-morbidities and vascular risk factors were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire, and Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) was calculated from systolic ankle and brachial pressure measurements.

Results: The prevalence of PAD, defined as resting ABI of <0.9 on either leg and/or a history of gangrene or non-traumatic amputation was 15.2% [95% confidence interval (CI), 12.3-18.5]. This prevalence of PAD was higher in patients with pre-existing microvascular and other macrovascular complications. In multivariate analysis, prevalence of PAD was positively associated with increasing age (OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.05-1.12), Malay versus Chinese ethnicity (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.09-4.70), low HDL-cholesterol (OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.04- 3.37), and insulin treatment (OR, 2.98; 95%CI, 1.39-6.36).

Conclusion: PAD is an important cause of concern among patients with diabetes, with a high prevalence which further increases with increasing age and duration of DM, and exhibits ethnic variation. Risk factors identified in this study may improve early identification of PAD, allowing for prompt interventions, with a potential to reduce long-term morbidity and mortality.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a significant complication of diabetes mellitus and accounts for the majority of amputations among these patients with diabetes. In addition, PAD is a manifestation of systemic atherosclerosis and is associated with increased risk of death and ischaemic events.

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