Patients with peripheral artery disease are at high risk of coronary artery disease. An increasing number of studies show that a large proportion of patients with peripheral artery disease have significant coronary atherosclerosis, even in the absence of symptoms. Although the reported prevalence of subclinical coronary artery disease varies widely in patients with peripheral artery disease, it could include more than half of patients. No consensus exists to date on either the rationale for screening patients with peripheral artery disease for coronary atherosclerosis or the optimal algorithm and method for screening. An increasing number of imaging modalities are emerging that allow improved in vivo non-invasive characterization of atherosclerotic plaques. These novel imaging methods may lead to early detection of high-risk vulnerable plaques, enabling clinicians to improve risk stratification of patients with peripheral artery disease, and thus paving the way for individualized therapy.
Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 2014, Vol 16, Issue 6, p. 1-8