The objective of this study was to clarify the differences, if any, in the clinical features between diabetic and nondiabetic patients with arteriosclerosis obliterane (ASO) and to select the optimal treatment for diabetic patients with ASO. The 171 patients with ASO studied were classified into nondiabetic and diabetic groups. Each group was subdivided into an intermittent claudication (1C) group and ulcer and necrosis (ULC) group. The frequency of complications with cardiac and cerebral vascular diseases and risk factors of arteriosclerosis were analyzed. Ankle and brachial blood pressure and ankle/brachial pressure index (API) were measured, and blood rheological parameters of filterability using Nuclepore filter membrane and viscosity of whole blood and plasma were measured. Three indexes of walking distance were measured by our ASO-Treadmill protocol to evaluate qualitatively the effect of treatment. There were 95 diabetic patients with ASO and 76 nondiabetic patients. Of the nondiabetic patients, 81 had 1C and 14 had ULC, and of the diabetic patients, 63 had 1C and 13 had ULC. The diabetic group showed more frequent complications with coronary heart disease (56.5 vs. 25.6%), but the two groups showed the same frequency of cerebrovascular diseases (30%). The diabetic ULC subgroup showed higher fasting plasma glucose than the diabetic 1C subgroup. The API of the ULC subgroup was significantly lower than that of the 1C subgroup in the nondiabetic patients, whereas that of the ULC subgroup was not significantly lower than that of the 1C subgroup in the diabetic patients. Stenotic lesions of arteriography in both the nondiabetic and diabetic ULC subgroups demonstrated a tendency toward multisegmental and belowknee lesions compared with the two 1C subgroups. For blood rheology-related factors, the diabetic ASO subgroup demonstrated a significantly elevated fibrinogen level compared with the normal control value, for patients of average age. After walking exercise treatment, a significant increase in the walking distance was obtained. After treatment with Cilostazol, prostaglandin I2 analog, and LDL apheresis, the rheological indexes were significantly improved, while the API did not change. We conclude that therapeutic improvement of blood rheological properties would be effective for prolongation and improvement of the quality of life for diabetic patients with ASO.

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