BACKGROUND: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Ankle-brachial index (ABI) is a measure of peripheral vascular disease (PVD), low values of which are associated with CVD. OBJECTIVES: Objectives were to identify the prevalence of PVD in SLE, to identify risk factors associated with PVD in SLE, and to determine whether SLE is an independent risk factor for PVD as assessed by ABI. METHODS: In a cross-sectional analysis of SLE subjects and control subjects, free of known CVD, SLE-related variables and cardiovascular risk factors were measured. Peripheral vascular disease was assessed using ABI. The prevalence of PVD (ABI ≤1.0) and comparisons of mean ABI, between SLE and control subjects, were examined. Systemic lupus erythematosus was examined as an independent risk for PVD in the cohort using propensity score matching. Logistic regression was performed to identify independent risk factors for PVD in SLE. RESULTS: Ankle-brachial index was lower in the 134 SLE subjects compared with 77 control subjects: 1.05 versus 1.09 (P = 0.003), and the prevalence of PVD was higher in SLE than in control subjects (33% vs 20%; P = 0.037). Systemic lupus erythematosus was not an independent risk for PVD. In the SLE subjects, the only significant risk factor for PVD was smoking. CONCLUSIONS: Ankle-brachial index, a marker of subclinical CVD, is an inexpensive and easy method in which to assess PVD. There was a 33% prevalence of PVD in SLE, which was independently associated with smoking. As PVD is a coronary artery disease risk equivalent, screening and diagnosis may change lipid management in preventive cardiovascular risk assessment in patients with SLE. The combination of SLE and a smoking history may identify individuals for whom checking an ABI makes particular sense.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes