Vascular Disease Foundation - Fighting Vascular Disease... Improving Vascular Health.
VDF Infomation Library

Disease Information : Buerger's Disease : FAQ's

Buerger’s Disease : FAQ’s

Q. Is Buerger's disease hereditary? My mom has it and had to have both legs, a finger, and a thumb amputated. She also just had a second massive stroke. Is that related to her disease? Does it or has it ever been linked with strokes?

A. Are you sure it is Buerger’s disease? This term has been used indiscriminately. The disease is now relatively rare in this country and even less common in females. Buerger’s disease is very directly related to tobacco use, so if both you and your mother smoke, that would be the most likely linkage. There is probably no hereditary component with Buerger's Disease (also called Thromboangiitis Obliterans or TAO), but over 50 percent of patients with TAO reported a family member with atherosclerosis—either coronary artery disease, stroke, or claudication.

There are no studies indicating a direct hereditary link for Buerger's or TAO. Data from the Mayo Clinic show a very low number of people reporting another family member with TAO, but again a high percentage with atherosclerosis. Stroke does occur in patients with TAO, but the age-adjusted risk has not been compared to smokers without TAO or to nonsmokers. For you and your siblings, the best advice is to live a healthy lifestyle and avoid all tobacco exposure.

If you would like to submit a question for consideration for publication on this page, please send us an e-mail.

Please note that our experts cannot perform diagnosis or recommend medical treatment.  We are able to provide only general information on vascular disease and its management. Please indicate your city and state on all e-mails to help us with future outreach efforts.