Surgeons are increasingly being exposed to the term 'hyperhomocysteinaemia' but few understand this condition that affects up to 10% of the population, or its pathological sequelae. Hyperhomocysteinaemia has been identified as an important and independent risk factor for atherosclerosis. There is increasing evidence that, in addition to coronary disease, hyperhomocysteinaemia is also associated with an increased risk of developing peripheral arterial disease. Causes of elevated homocysteine levels include inherited enzyme deficiencies and acquired vitamin deficiencies. Detection of hyperhomocysteinaemia is particularly relevant in patients with early onset atherosclerosis. Effective lowering of elevated homocysteine levels is possible with folate, vitamin B6 and B12 supplementation and may reduce the incidence and sequelae of atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease.
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B6