OBJECTIVE: Several reports have addressed sex disparities in peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD) treatment with inconclusive or even conflicting results. However, most previous studies have neither been sufficiently stratified nor used matching or weighting methods to address severe confounding. In the present study, we aimed to determine the disparities between sexes after percutaneous endovascular revascularization (ER) for symptomatic PAOD.
METHODS: Health insurance claims data from the second-largest insurance fund in Germany, BARMER, were used. A large cohort of patients who had undergone index percutaneous ER of symptomatic PAOD from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2018 were included in the present study. The study cohort was stratified by the presence of intermittent claudication, ischemic rest pain, and wound healing disorders. Propensity score matching was used to adjust for confounding through differences in age, treated vessel region, comorbidities, and pharmacologic treatment. Sex-related differences regarding cardiovascular event-free survival, amputation-free survival, and overall survival within 5 years of surgery were determined using Kaplan-Meier time-to-event curves, log-rank test, and Cox regression analysis.
RESULTS: In the present study, 50,051 patients (47.2% women) were identified and used to compose a matched cohort of 35,232 patients. Among all strata, female patients exhibited lower mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 0.69-0.90), fewer amputations or death (HR, 0.70-0.89), and fewer cardiovascular events or death (HR, 0.78-0.91). The association between female sex and improved long-term outcomes was most pronounced for the patients with intermittent claudication.
CONCLUSIONS: In the present propensity score-matched analysis of health insurance claims, we observed superior cardiovascular event-free survival, amputation-free survival, and overall survival during 5 years of follow-up after percutaneous ER in women with symptomatic PAOD. Future studies should address sex disparities in the open surgical treatment of PAOD to illuminate whether the conflicting data from previous reports might have resulted from insufficient stratification of the studies.