Claudication is the most commonly recognized peripheral artery disease (PAD) symptom, but not the most prevalent. Only 7.5%-33% of patients report claudication as being part of their symptom experience. However, there is little evidence supporting atypical symptom reporting. The study purpose was to describe the full spectrum of symptoms experienced by older and younger individuals with PAD. Semistructured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 38 community-dwelling adults aged 49-83 years; transcripts were analyzed using content analysis. Six themes emerged: symptom descriptors (claudication and atypical), maintaining equilibrium, temporal fluctuations, the role of exercise, perceived impact on quality of life, and disease presence and treatment. Results suggest heavy reliance on claudication can result in mis- or under-diagnosis of PAD. Further research is needed to validate the correspondence of atypical symptoms with ischemic changes during exercise to broaden currently accepted symptom locations and descriptors associated with PAD.
- Peripheral artery disease
- Symptom experience