The management of patients with chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, is a fundamental part of a primary care nurse’s role. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is an increasingly prevalent condition. General practice nurses will often be involved in the care of patients with PAD; supporting them with their medical management and lifestyle changes implementation. However, effective risk management and modification can be challenging, especially when patients are struggling to follow their treatment plan. In this article, the management of cardiovascular (CV) risk factors in patients with PAD and the issue of adherence to treatment will be discussed.
What is PAD?
Peripheral artery disease is a condition in which fatty deposits build up inside arteries, resulting in narrowing and reduced blood flow to the limbs. Affecting one in five people over 60 in the UK, PAD negatively impacts on quality of life, mainly due to claudication pain. When left untreated, it is associated with coronary heart disease, myocardial infraction, stroke, and increased mortality.1,2 Additionally, up to 27% of claudicants will need amputation within six years3, making PAD one of the biggest causes of lower-limb amputation in the UK.