OBJECTIVES--To determine the prevalence of symptomatic macrovascular disease, as defined by the World Health Organisation questionnaire for intermittent claudication, in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), and to compare the prevalence in this population with a cross sectional population study group reported in the Edinburgh Artery Study (EAS). METHODS--A group of 53 patients with a diagnosis of limited or diffuse systemic sclerosis were identified from our register. They were asked to complete the WHO questionnaire to establish the presence or absence of intermittent claudication. In addition, each patient's case notes were reviewed to establish the existence of definite peripheral vascular disease and to determine their risk factor profile. RESULTS--Forty six patients responded to the questionnaire, giving a response rate of 87%. Intermittent claudication was found in 10 SSc patients (21.7%) according to the questionnaire (two with diffuse and eight with limited SSc), compared with a prevalence rate of 4.6% for claudication in the EAS. Three SSc patients experienced clinical events attributable to occlusion of a major artery proven on angiography. Four patients had hypertension, there were three current and four ex-smokers, and two had increased total cholesterol. None of these patients had diabetes. CONCLUSIONS--This study demonstrated a greater prevalence of macrovascular disease in patients with SSc than had been found in a neighbouring population.
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