BACKGROUND: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is one of the clinical manifestations of the atherosclerotic disease process. Early onset and rapid progression of PAD in diabetic patients has been well documented. PAD in diabetic patients has also been associated with an increased risk for total and cardiovascular mortality. Plethysmography is a noninvasive test to screen for the presence of PAD. Thus the aim of this study is to assess the risk factors for PAD screened by plethysmography in NII)DM patients. METHODS: A total of 289 NIDDM patients who undlerwent plethysmography were entered into our annlysis. Clinical characteristics of 38 patients with an ankle-brachial index of <0.9 (group B) were conapared with those of 231 patients with an ankle-brachial index of >1.0 (group A). RESULTS: Abnormalities in plethysmographic findings were found in 45.7% of diabetic patients. Age, duration of diabetes, hypertension, smoking, previous history of vascular diseases, HDL cholesterol, TC/HDL, and LDL/HDL appeared to be factors significantly related to PAD. Fasting sugar, HbAlc, total cholesterol, LDL cholestero1, trigly ceride, fibrinogen, lipoprotein(a), and waist-hip ratio were not significantly different between the two groups. The multiple logistic regression analysis showed the signficant contribution of the previous history of vascular disease (p=0.0028) and age (p-0.0115) to PAD in diabetic patients. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of PAD defined by plethysmography in our subjects was 45.7% higher than expected, suggests that efforts for early detection and prevention of PAD should be emphasized in diabetic patients.