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What is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)?

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Peripheral Arterial Disease is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce the blood flow to your limbs.


When PAD develops, your extremities – usually your legs – don’t receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand. This causes symptoms, most notably leg pain when walking (intermittent claudication).

Over 70% of patients do not know about the disease because they do not feel or recognise the symptoms until severe complications occur.

PAD is likely to be a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition may be reducing blood flow to your heart and brain, not only to your legs.

Early diagnosis of PAD in primary healthcare is crucial.


Who must be diagnosed for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) or Lower Extremity Arterial Disease (LEAD)?

70% of patients with PAD experience no symptoms and are not diagnosed. Cardiology associations recommend Ankle-Brachial Index screening on the complete PAD risk group for early detection of the disease.

Everybody in the risk group should be screened for PAD / LEAD.

LEAD risk group

1. Patients with clinical suspicion for LEAD:

  • Unnoticeable pulse in lower extremities and/or arterial bruit.
  • Typical intermittent claudication or symptoms suggestive for LEAD.
  • Non-healing lower extremity wound.

2. Patients with clinical conditions which may cause a risk for LEAD:

  • Atherosclerotic diseases: CAD, any PADs.
  • AAA, CKD, heart failure.

3. Asymptomatic individuals at risk for LEAD