Impact of long-term corticosteroid therapy on the distribution pattern of lower limb atherosclerosis

Willenberg, T; Diehm, N; Zwahlen, M; Kalka, C; Do, D-D; Gretener, S; Ortmann, J; Baumgartner, I (2010). Impact of long-term corticosteroid therapy on the distribution pattern of lower limb atherosclerosis. European journal of vascular and endovascular surgery EJVES, 39(4), pp. 441-6. London: Elsevier 10.1016/j.ejvs.2009.12.029

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

OBJECTIVE: Ectopic calcification and mediacalcinosis can be promoted by corticosteroid use. Aim of the present investigation is to describe macrovascular disease features in patients with long-term corticosteroid therapy and symptomatic lower limb peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD). METHODS: A consecutive series of 2783 patients undergoing clinical and angiographic work-up of PAD were screened for long-term (>5 years) corticosteroid use (group A). Comparison was performed to a randomly selected age-, sex- and risk factor-matched PAD control cohort from the same series without corticosteroid use (group B). Patients with diabetes mellitus or severe renal failure were excluded. Arterial calcification was evaluated by qualitative assessment on radiographic images. Severity of atherosclerotic lesions was analysed from angiographic images using a semi-quantitative score (Bollinger score). RESULTS: In general, 12 patients (5 males, mean age 78.5 +/- 9.0 years) with 15 ischaemic limbs qualified to be enrolled in group A and were compared to 23 matching control patients (6 2 males, mean age 79.5 +/- 6 years) with 32 ischaemic limbs. Incompressibility of ankle arteries determined by measurement of the ankle-brachial index was seen in 12 limbs (80%) in group A compared to 3 limbs (9%) in group B (p = 0.0009). No significant difference was found comparing group A and B for segmental calcification, whereas comparison of the atherosclerotic burden using the angiographic severity score showed a significantly higher score at the infragenicular arterial level in group A (p = 0.001). CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that the long-term corticosteroid therapy is associated with a distally accentuated, calcifying peripheral atherosclerosis inducing arterial incompressibility. This occlusion pattern is comparable to patients with renal failure or diabetes. Further research is required to support our observations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Cardiovascular Disorders (DHGE) > Clinic of Angiology

UniBE Contributor:

Willenberg, Torsten Andreas, Diehm, Nicolas Alexander, Kalka, Christoph, Gretener, Silvia, Ortmann, Jana, Baumgartner, Iris








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:07

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:00

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 196929)

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback