Health Services Research & Development

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2006 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract

1073 — Risk and Awareness of Peripheral Vascular Disease in Women Veterans

Author List:
Bush RL (Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies)
Kallen MA (Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies)
Liles DA (Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies)
Petersen LA (Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies)

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), a manifestation of systemic atherosclerosis, is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. PVD research has traditionally focused on male patients, thus there is a current lack of knowledge and awareness of PVD in women. We screened women veterans aged 40 to 85 for PVD, associated risk factors, and measured their knowledge and awareness of the disease.

Participants (N=107, mean age 55 years, range 40-73) were evaluated through chart review and non-invasive screening procedures (Ankle-Brachial Index: ABI; carotid artery intimal-medial thickness: IMT). PVD was defined by: ABI <=0.9, carotid IMT >1 mm, documented PVD, or previous peripheral revascularization. CV risk levels were determined using the Framingham score. Women’s knowledge and awareness was assessed with a survey developed via extensive literature review, expert consultation, and patient piloting. Psychometric analyses of the questionnaire had demonstrated adequate measurement characteristics to assess group differences (point biserial correlation, r=0.43).

Of 107 patients, 68.6% were white and 78.8% had at least some college education. An ABI of <=0.9 was detected in 3.7% and carotid IMT of >1.0 mm in 28.0% while 1.0 % had a prior diagnosis of PVD and 1.9% had previous revascularization. Risk factor stratification was as follows: low risk (0-1 risk factor) in 41.3%, moderate risk (2 risk factors) in 14.7%, and high risk (>2 risk factors) in 44.0%. Knowledge and awareness scores (% correct) for PVD were low regardless of CV risk factor group: low 42.8, moderate 53.8, and high 47.6. Likewise, low scores for knowledge of CV risk factors and consequences were found in all CV risk factor groups: low 51.2, moderate 63.5, and high 56.8.

These data show women veterans have multiple PVD risk factors, yet their awareness and knowledge about PVD is low. Future work is needed to develop and disseminate information about PVD in women and its role in women’s CV health.

Raising levels of awareness of the significance of PVD and its consequences will allow women and their physicians to assess risk factors and implement preventive measures.