Author(s): Whayne TF
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Abstract Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a major medical/surgical problem associated with high risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). Anticoagulation plays a significant role in the management of the PAD patient. However, evidence-based medicine supports only select anticoagulants, mainly antiplatelet agents. The available anticoagulant classes, their individual medications, and the mechanisms of action are described. Dextran 40, platelet glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa receptor antagonists, direct thrombin (factor IIa, FIIa) inhibitors, and factor Xa (FXa) inhibitors do not, at this juncture, appear to have a significant role to play in the PAD patient. Aspirin has been used in PAD patients for a few decades, as has warfarin, but the role of warfarin is very limited. An attempt has been made to place each medication and its function in context all the way to the present with oral direct thrombin (FIIa) and FXa inhibitors described. These inhibitors may ultimately play an, as yet, undefined role in PAD. Specific use of anticoagulants in PAD patients is described and aspirin still stands out as a fundamental therapy. The thienopyridines, especially clopidogrel, have their established place and there is some evidence for benefit from the use of clopidogrel in dual therapy with aspirin. Dipyridamole, especially with aspirin as dual therapy, and cilostazol also have their evidence-based niches. The main role played by warfarin is for the patient with a vein graft in the arterial circulation. Heparin retains significant procedural importance. For now, Class I, Level of Evidence A center around aspirin for the PAD patient with clopidogrel, an alternative agent.
This article was published in Int J Angiol
and referenced in Cardiovascular Pharmacology: Open Access