Claudication

General Illness Information


Common Name:

Claudication

Medical Term: Claudication

Description: Muscle fatigue and pain in an extremity, after a period of minimal exertion. Resting the extremity always relieves this. Repeating a similar exercise can reproduce the pain. It is more common in the lower extremity.

Causes: Blockage of an artery in the affected area.

Prevention:

  • Stop smoking;
  • Lose weight, if obese;
  • Routine exercise program;
  • Minimize the amount of saturated fats in the diet;
  • Reduction of cholesterol levels.

Diagnosis & Treatment

  • Diminished or absent pulse;
  • Reduced blood pressure at the ankle- usually the pressure at the ankle is 90% of the pressure at the arm flow but with severe narrowing it may be less than 50%;
  • Diagnosis can be confirmed by tests, such as Doppler ultrasound, color Doppler and angiography;
  • Color Doppler is a more sophisticated ultrasound technique producing a picture of the artery, showing different flow rates in different colors. This test is used much more frequently than angiography because it does not require an injection of radio-opaque dye.

General Measures:

  • Stop Smoking;
  • Control Hyperlipidemia;
  • Start a walking and exercise program;
  • Surgery;
  • Surgical treatment with bypass of the obstructed area may be the treatment of choice in selected cases.

Medications:

  • Low doses of aspirin may be prescribed. Other medications are: Ticlopidine, Trental;
  • Special medication to increase blood flow may be prescribed, such as calcium channel blockers;
  • Cholesterol lowering medication in patients with elevated cholesterol.

Activity:

  • Daily exercise program. Walking as much as possible (up to 4-5 miles a day), resting if pain or discomfort occurs, and then walk again. Walk on level ground. Keep a log of progress in walking distances;
  • Other daily activities performed as normal.

Prognosis

With surgery, the prognosis is good. Surgery is only possible for large vessels, and may be contra-indicated with other serious illnesses. With medications, disease progression may be slowed. A number of cases do not respond to treatment, and there is usually slow progression to tissue necrosis and gangrene.

Other

Nothing specified.