Is there a reliable association between patient-reported limb claudication and vascular imaging methods in Takayasu arteritis?
Vessel imaging in Takayasu arteritis (TAK) is often performed in clinical practice following laboratory test abnormalities or clinical symptoms, such as limb claudication. Conversely, the association between limb claudication and vessel imaging manifestations has not been assessed. This observational, cross-sectional study analyzed 139 adult TAK patients from 2000 to 2018. Their arterial vessel imaging information (especially significant stenosis and occlusion data) was registered and crosschecked with clinical and laboratory data. When vessel imaging was performed, the median age and disease duration of the patients were 38 (27.3-47.0) and 5.0 (1.0-12.0) years, respectively. There was no association between arterial abnormalities and demographic data, constitutional symptoms or laboratory parameters. Limb claudication was reported in 42 patients (30.2%): 17.3% reported it in the upper left limb (ULL), 12.2% reported it in the upper right limb (URL), 12.9% reported it in the lower left limb (LLL), and 12.2% reported it in the lower right limb (LRL). When crossmatched with imaging, both ULL and URL were associated with left vertebral artery stenosis/occlusion, and URL was associated with right iliac artery stenosis/occlusion, but no other association was found. In contrast, both LLL and LRL claudication were associated with infrarenal aortic, left iliac and right iliac artery stenosis/ occlusion (p<0.05). Moreover, the ULL and URL claudication symptoms were significantly associated with each other (p<0.001). Upper limb claudication was associated only with left vertebral artery stenosis/occlusion, whereas the subclavian arteries were not, suggesting that the symptom might not be fully explained by limb ischemia. In contrast, lower limb claudication was associated especially with infrarenal aortic and/or iliac arteries stenosis/occlusion.
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