Fast Five Quiz: Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease Signs and Symptoms

Arnold S. Baas, MD


May 17, 2022

Defined as reproducible ischemic muscle pain, claudication is the hallmark of PAOD and occurs during physical activity but is relieved after a short rest.

Because intermittent claudication causes pain that typically occurs with physical activity, determining how much physical activity prompts the onset of pain is helpful for patients. Typically, the onset of pain is measured by a walking distance (eg, two-block claudication). This standard measure of walking distance helps monitor patients' response to therapy.

The location of the pain in patients with PAOD is determined by the anatomic location of the arterial lesions. The condition most commonly manifests in the distal superficial femoral artery (located just above the knee joint), corresponding to claudication in the calf muscle area (the muscle group just distal to the arterial disease). When atherosclerosis is distributed throughout the aortoiliac area, thigh and buttock muscle claudication occurs.

Learn more about the presentation of PAOD.


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