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Collins TC, Petersen NJ, Suarez-Almazor M. Peripheral arterial disease symptom subtype and walking impairment. Vascular medicine (London, England). 2005 Aug 1; 10(3):177-83.
Walking impairment is common in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The purpose of this study was to compare specific leg symptoms and walking impairment in a racially diverse cohort of patients with PAD. Patients who were receiving care at the Michael E DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center or in the Harris County Hospital District were screened for PAD, which was diagnosed in the office setting by blood pressure measurements that were used to calculate the ankle-brachial index (a level < 0.90 was defined as disease). To define leg symptoms, we asked patients to complete the San Diego Claudication Questionnaire. Based on the questionnaire results, leg symptoms were categorized as: asymptomatic, atypical, and intermittent claudication. The patients also completed the Walking Impairment Questionnaire. Among 403 patients screened (136 Caucasians, 136 African Americans and 131 Latinos), 67 were found to have PAD (18 Caucasians, 31 African Americans and 18 Latinos). The mean age of the cohort was 63.8 years (standard deviation (SD) 7.3). Walking distance, speed and stair climbing scores were lower (p < 0.0001) for patients with PAD and leg pain on exertion or at rest when compared with patients with PAD without leg symptoms or with symptoms of intermittent claudication. For patients with PAD and leg pain on exertion and at rest, the walking distance score was 27.1 +/- SD 37.7 compared with 41.0 +/- 38.4 for those with asymptomatic disease who were inactive, and with 38.5 +/- 42.7 for those with intermittent claudication (p = 0.02). In an ethnically diverse primary care clinic population, patients with PAD and leg pain on exertion and at rest had greater compromise in their walking ability when compared with patients with intermittent claudication. The reasons for the significant impairment in walking among patients with PAD and these atypical leg symptoms may stem from coexisting illnesses or other as yet undefined factors. Future research should focus on methods to improve daily walking in patients with PAD and atypical leg symptoms.