Asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease is independently associated with impaired lower extremity functioning: The women's health and aging study

Mary McGrae McDermott*, Linda Fried, Eleanor Simonsick, Shari Ling, Jack M. Guralnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

173 Scopus citations


Background - We report the implications of asymptomatic lower extremity peripheral arterial disease (PAD) for lower extremity functioning among participants in the Women's Health and Aging Study, an observational study of disabled women ≥65 years of age living in and around Baltimore. Methods and Results - The ankle brachial index (ABI) and measures of upper and lower extremity functioning were measured among study participants. Of 933 women with ABI ≤1.50, 328 (35%) had an ABI <0.90, consistent with PAD. Sixty- three percent of PAD participants had no exertional leg pain. Among participants without exertional leg pain, lower ABI levels were associated with slower walking velocity, poorer standing balance score, slower time to arise 5 times consecutively from a seated position, and fewer blocks walked per week, adjusting for age, sex, race, cigarette smoking, and comorbidities. ABI was not associated independently with measures of upper extremity functioning. Conclusions - Asymptomatic PAD is common and is independently associated with impaired lower extremity functioning. In addition to preventing cardiovascular morbidity and death, further study is warranted to identify effective interventions to improve functioning among the growing number of men and women with asymptomatic PAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1012
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 7 2000



  • Aging
  • Arteries
  • Peripheral vascular disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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