"Standing still in the street": experiences, knowledge and beliefs of patients with intermittent claudication--a qualitative study

J Vasc Nurs. 2015 Mar;33(1):4-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jvn.2014.12.001.


Objectives: To explore the experiences of individuals living with intermittent claudication (IC) owing to peripheral artery disease (PAD), their knowledge about the condition, and their thoughts about being asked to walk more and an intervention to promote walking.

Methods: We conducted five focus group sessions with 24 people (71% male; mean age, 71 years) diagnosed with IC with no prior lower extremity revascularization.

Results: Two overriding themes emerged: uncertainty and lack of support/empathy. Participants expressed uncertainty about PAD and IC, how risk factors work, and whether lifestyle change, particularly walking, would help. They also expressed dissatisfaction with and lack of empathy from the medical professionals encountered, with feelings of being dismissed and left on their own. There was enthusiasm for an education program to support their self-management of the disease.

Conclusions: Addressing the knowledge gaps and uncertainty around the disease process and walking will be critical to providing impetus to behavior change. A structured education approach to address these issues seems to be desirable and acceptable to those living with PAD.

Practice implications: Those working with PAD patients should provide clear and consistent information about the disease process and specific information on walking, as well as support to enable and manage behavior change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Nursing / methods
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Intermittent Claudication / etiology*
  • Intermittent Claudication / psychology*
  • Male
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / complications*
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Walking / physiology*
  • Walking / psychology*