Alirocumab and plaque volume, calf muscle blood flow, and walking performance in peripheral artery disease: A randomized clinical trial

Elona Rrapo-Kaso, Adrian I. Loffler, Gina R. Petroni, Craig H. Meyer, McCall Walker, Jennifer R. Kay, Joseph M. DiMaria, Kathyrn Domanchuk, James C. Carr, Mary M. McDermott, Christopher M. Kramer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The distal superficial femoral artery (SFA) is most commonly affected in peripheral artery disease (PAD). The effects of the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitor alirocumab added to statin therapy on SFA atherosclerosis, downstream flow, and walking performance are unknown. Methods: Thirty-five patients with PAD on maximally tolerated statin therapy were recruited. Patients were randomized to alirocumab 150 mg subcutaneously (n = 18) or matching placebo (n = 17) therapy every 2 weeks for 1 year. The primary outcome was change in SFA plaque volume by black blood magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Secondary outcomes were changes in calf muscle perfusion by cuff/occlusion hyperemia arterial spin labeling MRI, 6-minute walk distance (6MWD), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and other biomarkers. Results: Age (mean ± SD) was 64 ± 8 years, 20 (57%) patients were women, 17 (49%) were Black individuals, LDL was 107 ± 36 mg/dL, and the ankle–brachial index 0.71 ± 0.20. The LDL fell more with alirocumab than placebo (mean [95% CI]) (−49.8 [−66.1 to −33.6] vs −7.7 [−19.7 to 4.3] mg/dL; p < 0.0001). Changes in SFA plaque volume and calf perfusion showed no difference between groups when adjusted for baseline (+0.25 [−0.29 to 0.79] vs −0.04 [−0.47 to 0.38] cm3; p = 0.37 and 0.22 [−8.67 to 9.11] vs 3.81 [−1.45 to 9.08] mL/min/100 g; p = 0.46, respectively), nor did 6MWD. Conclusion: In this exploratory study, the addition of alirocumab therapy to statins did not alter SFA plaque volume, calf perfusion or 6MWD despite significant LDL lowering. Larger studies with longer follow up that include plaque characterization may improve understanding of the effects of intensive LDL-lowering therapy in PAD ( Identifier: NCT02959047).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalVascular Medicine (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • PCSK9 inhibition
  • atherosclerotic plaque
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • peripheral artery disease (PAD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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