Training modules (NHS Scotland)

What can be done to help peripheral arterial disease (PAD)?

The screening process for PAD is simple and consists of checking, via palpation, for the two pulses in each foot. If either of these pulses are present during the screening process then the circulation to the foot is perceived to be adequate. These pulses are the Dorsalis Pedis (DP) and the Posterior Tibial (PT). The individual should be asked if they have any signs of intermittent claudication (cramping in the calf muscle after walking a certain distance) and also be given advice regarding lifestyle changes, most importantly stopping smoking.

If during the screening process neither of the pulses can be palpated or the individual presents with any of the aforementioned problems they may need to be referred for a more in depth assessment of their PAD, leading in some cases to the implementation of an Education / Management plan to try and improve the situation or referral to vascular services for surgical intervention where appropriate.

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