It has emerged that patients in the UK with atherothrombosis are at a much higher risk from suffering another cardiovascular event or death.

According to findings from the UK arm of the global REACH (REduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health) registry, published in the British Journal of Cardiology, nearly one in five patients with peripheral arterial disease (narrowing/blockage of blood vessels) will die or suffer a non-fatal stroke or heart attack.

Furthermore, it has revealed that atherothrombosis - when a blood clot forms on fatty deposits in the wall of a blood vessel and the leading cause of death worldwide - in two regions actually doubles the risk of another event.

The findings are important as they underscore the need for the effective management of risk factors for the condition, which include: smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, being overweight, high blood pressure and age.

Room for improvement

“We should be aware that having an atherothrombotic event in one vascular bed not only increases the risk of a recurrent event but also the risk of another event elsewhere,” commented Dr Jonathan Morrell from The Conquest Hospital in Hastings. Even with contemporary therapy, morbidity and mortality remain high in the UK. There is still room for improvement," he stressed.

The REACH registry, which is sponsored by sanofi-aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb, co-marketers of the blood thinner Plavix (clopidogrel), was kicked off in 2003 to assess the impact of atherothrombosis and its burden on society, and has looked at over 68,236 patients in 44 countries, with over 600 from the UK.