How is intermittent claudication characterized in peripheral vascular disease (PVD)?

Updated: Dec 31, 2017
  • Author: Everett Stephens, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Answer

Intermittent claudication may be the sole manifestation of early symptomatic PVD. The level of arterial compromise and the location of the claudication are closely related, as follows:

  • Aortoiliac disease manifests as pain in the thigh and buttock, whereas femoropopliteal disease manifests as pain in the calf
  • Symptoms are precipitated by walking a predictable distance and are relieved by rest
  • Collateral circulation may develop, reducing the symptoms of intermittent claudication, but failure to control precipitant factors and risk factors often causes its reemergence
  • Claudication may also present as the hip or leg "giving out" after a certain period of exertion and may not demonstrate the typical symptom of pain on exertion
  • The pain of claudication usually does not occur with sitting or standing

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