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ABSTRACT: Peripheral vascular disease of the lower extremities is an important cause of morbidity that affects up to 10 million people in the United States. The primary care physician can easily identify patients who are at risk for the disease with a questionnaire and a relatively simple test-the ankle brachial index. More than 70 percent of patients diagnosed with the disease remain stable or improve with conservative management. Those who do not improve may undergo contrast angiography or magnetic resonance angiography, which may be used in planning for surgery or percutaneous intervention. Surgical bypass is the gold standard for extensive vascular occlusive disease, but endovascular interventions, including percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and stent placement, are being used more frequently, particularly in patients with significant comorbid conditions.
Prevention of Recurrent Ischemic Stroke - Article
ABSTRACT: Recurrent ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack are common problems in primary care, with stroke survivors averaging 10 outpatient visits per year. Risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia should be evaluated during each office visit. Attention should be given to lifestyle modification including management of obesity, smoking cessation, reduction in alcohol consumption, and promotion of physical activity. The choice of an antiplatelet agent (e.g., aspirin, ticlopidine, clopidogrel, dipyridamole) or the anticoagulant warfarin is based on the safety, tolerability, effectiveness, and price of each agent. Aspirin is a common first choice for prevention of recurrent stroke, but the combination of dipyridamole and aspirin should be considered for many patients because of its superior effectiveness in two clinical trials. Clopidogrel is recommended for patients with aspirin intolerance or allergy, or for those who cannot tolerate dipyridamole. Warfarin and the combination of aspirin and clopidogrel should not be used in the prevention of ischemic stroke. Carotid endarterectomy is appropriate for select patients; carotid stenting was recently shown to be less effective and less safe than endarterectomy.