Marijuana Use Linked to Significantly Increased Risk of Developing PAD in Study of NIS Data

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May 31, 2023—Data from a study examining the relationship between marijuana use and peripheral artery disease (PAD) showed marijuana users are at a significantly increased risk of developing PAD compared to the general population.

According to a recent press release from the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI), marijuana use has increased in recent years, with approximately 50 million people reporting using it at least once per the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although many studies have looked at the impact of marijuana use on health, little research has been done to study the effect of marijuana use on the vascular system.

Hirva Vyas, DO, with Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey, is lead author of the study, which was presented at the SCAI 2023 Scientific Sessions held May 18-20 in Phoenix, Arizona.

As summarized by SCAI, the study investigators used deidentified patient data from the National Inpatient Samples from 2016 to 2019 for patients who reported marijuana use and a diagnosis of PAD. Patients were further stratified based on any percutaneous lower extremity vascular intervention.

The data were analyzed using SPSS software (IBM) in a binary logistic regression model, a P value < .001 was considered statistically significant, and samples were standardized for comparison using predicted probabilities.

Of the 30 million patients identified, 623,768 were diagnosed as marijuana users. Patients were an average age of 37.4 years, equally distributed across genders, were more likely to be White, and were more likely to be elective admissions. Of these patients, 2,424 (0.38%) were also diagnosed with PAD.

The investigators found that marijuana users were more than three times at risk of developing PAD (odds ratio, 3.68; P < .001) but had no statistically significant increased risk for mortality or requiring percutaneous intervention (P < .001), reported SCAI.

“With the increase in marijuana use in the United States, our findings show that users should be aware of the symptoms of PAD, such as leg pain while walking, slower or no hair growth, and feelings of coldness in the leg,” commented Dr. Vyas in the SCAI press release. “We know PAD is a progressive disease that can drastically impact quality of life, making ongoing monitoring of this patient population critical.”

The investigators advised that based on study results, vigilant monitoring for disease screening and progression should be initiated earlier in the outpatient setting in addition to cessation counseling, noted the SCAI press release.

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