Since Buerger's disease was first described by Leo Buerger in 1908, many authors have discussed whether it indeed exists and, if so, is a definite clinical entity. Today, Buerger's disease is accepted as a definite vascular disease with a typical clinical picture, natural history, and histopathology; however, the diagnosis of Buerger's disease has been controversial, and the etiology of this vascular occlusive disease has remained unknown because many authors in different countries have their own criteria. Besides, patients with this disease have decreased in number even in Japan, while there has been no change in the number of arteriosclerosis obliterans patients. Currently, only one or two new patients per year are encountered at our outpatient clinic. The purpose of this review is to examine the current epidemiological, pathological, and clinical aspects of Buerger's disease in Japan based on the 222 patient files of our department between 1980 and 2000 and to discuss the pathogenesis, clinical presentation, and various treatment modalities.
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