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1.  Symptomatic peripheral arterial disease: the value of a validated questionnaire and a clinical decision rule 
If a validated questionnaire, when applied to patients reporting with symptoms of intermittent claudication, could adequately discriminate between those with and without peripheral arterial disease, GPs could avoid the diagnostic measurement of the ankle brachial index.
To investigate the Edinburgh Claudication Questionnaire (ECQ) in general practice and to develop a clinical decision rule based on risk factors to enable GPs to easily assess the likelihood of peripheral arterial disease.
Design of study
An observational study.
General practice in The Netherlands.
This observational study included patients of ≥55 years visiting their GP for symptoms suggestive of intermittent claudication or with one risk factor. The ECQ and the ankle brachial index were performed. The prevalence of peripheral arterial disease, defined as an ankle brachial index <0.9, was related to risk factors using logistic regression analyses, on which a clinical decision rule was developed and related to the presence of peripheral arterial disease.
Of the 4790 included patients visiting their GP with symptoms suggestive of intermittent claudication, 4527 were eligible for analyses. The prevalence of peripheral arterial disease in this group was 48.3%. The sensitivity of the ECQ was only 56.2%. The prevalence of peripheral arterial disease in a clinical decision rule that included age, male sex, smoking, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and a positive ECQ, increased from 14% in the lowest to 76% in the highest category.
This study indicates that the ECQ alone has an inadequate diagnostic value in detecting patients with peripheral arterial disease. The ankle brachial index should be performed to diagnose peripheral arterial disease in patients with complaints suggestive of intermittent claudication, although our clinical decision rule could help to differentiate between extremely high and lower prevalence of peripheral arterial disease.
PMCID: PMC1934053  PMID: 17132381
ankle brachial index; atheroscelerosis; clinical decision rule; Edinburgh Claudication Questionnaire; intermittent claudication; peripheral vascular disease
2.  Multidisciplinary treatment for peripheral arterial occlusive disease and the role of eHealth and mHealth 
Increasingly unaffordable health care costs are forcing care providers to develop economically viable and efficient health care plans. Currently, only a minority of all newly diagnosed peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD) patients receive efficient and structured conservative treatment for their disease. The aim of this article is to introduce an innovative effective treatment model termed ClaudicatioNet. This concept was launched in The Netherlands as a means to combat treatment shortcomings and stimulate cohesion and collaboration between stakeholders. The overall goal of ClaudicatioNet is to stimulate quality and transparency of PAOD treatment by optimizing multidisciplinary health care chains on a national level. Improved quality is based on stimulating both a theoretical and practical knowledge base, while eHealth and mHealth technologies are used to create clear insights of provided care to enhance quality control management, in addition these technologies can be used to increase patient empowerment, thereby increasing efficacy of PAOD treatment. This online community consists of a web portal with public and personal information supplemented with a mobile application. By connecting to these tools, a social community is created where patients can meet and keep in touch with fellow patients, while useful information for supervising health care professionals is provided. The ClaudicatioNet concept will likely create more efficient and cost-effective PAOD treatment by improving the quality of supervised training programs, extending possibilities and stimulating patient empowerment by using eHealth and mHealth solutions. A free market principle is introduced by introducing transparency to provided care by using objective and subjective outcome parameters. Cost-effectiveness can be achieved using supervised training programs, which may substitute for or postpone expensive invasive vascular interventions.
PMCID: PMC3476374  PMID: 23093906
intermittent claudication; multidisciplinary treatment; cost-effectiveness; eHealth
3.  The ClaudicatioNet concept: design of a national integrated care network providing active and healthy aging for patients with intermittent claudication 
Intermittent claudication (IC) is a manifestation of peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD). Besides cardiovascular risk management, supervised exercise therapy (SET) should be offered to all patients with IC. Outdated guidelines, an insufficient number of specialized physiotherapists (PTs), lack of awareness of the importance of SET by referring physicians, and misguided financial incentives all seriously impede the availability of a structured SET program in The Netherlands.
Description of care practice:
By initiating regional care networks, ClaudicatioNet aims to improve the quality of care for patients with IC. Based on the chronic care model as a conceptual framework, these networks should enhance the access, continuity, and (cost) efficiency of the health care system. With the aid of a national database, health care professionals will be able to benchmark patient results while ClaudicatioNet will be able to monitor quality of care by way of functional and patient reported outcome measures.
The success of ClaudicatioNet is dependent on several factors. Vascular surgeons, general practitioners and coordinating central caregivers will need to team up and work in close collaboration with specialized PTs. A substantial task in the upcoming years will be to monitor the quality, volume, and distribution of ClaudicatioNet PTs. Finally, misguided financial incentives within the Dutch health care system need to be tackled.
With ClaudicatioNet, integrated care pathways are likely to improve in the upcoming years. This should result in the achievement of optimal quality of care for all patients with IC.
PMCID: PMC3428244  PMID: 22942648
intermittent claudication; supervised exercise therapy; integrated care network; chronic care model; active healthy aging
4.  Applicability of the ankle-brachial-index measurement as screening device for high cardiovascular risk: an observational study 
Screening with ankle-brachial index (ABI) measurement could be clinically relevant to avoid cardiovascular events in subjects with asymptomatic atherosclerosis. To assess the practical impact of guidelines regarding the use of ABI as a screening tool in general practice, the corresponding number needed to screen, including the required time investment, and the feasibility of ABI performance, was assessed.
An observational study was performed in the setting of 955 general practices in the Netherlands. Overall, 13,038 subjects of ≥55 years presenting with symptoms of intermittent claudication and/or presenting with ≥ one vascular risk factor were included. Several guidelines recommend the ABI as an additional measurement in selected populations for risk assessment for cardiovascular morbidity.
Screening of the overall population of ≥50 years results in ≈862 subjects per general practice who should be screened, resulting in a time-requirement of approximately 6 weeks of full time work. Using an existing clinical prediction model, 247 patients per general practice should be screened for PAD by ABI measurement.
Screening the entire population of ≥50 years will in our opinion not be feasible in general practice. A more rationale and efficient approach might be screening of subsets of the population of ≥55 years based on a clinical prediction model.
PMCID: PMC3444328  PMID: 22846150
5.  Ankle brachial index measurement in primary care: are we doing it right? 
The reference standard for diagnosing peripheral arterial disease in primary care is the ankle brachial index (ABI). Various methods to measure ankle and brachial blood pressures and to calculate the index are described.
To compare the ABI measurements performed in primary care with those performed in the vascular laboratory. Furthermore, an inventory was made of methods used to determine the ABI in primary care.
Design of study
Cross-sectional study.
Primary care practice and outpatient clinic.
Consecutive patients suspected of peripheral arterial disease based on ABI assessment in primary care practices were included. The ABI measurements were repeated in the vascular laboratory. Referring GPs were interviewed about method of measurement and calculation of the index. From each patient the leg with the lower ABI was used for analysis.
Ninety-nine patients of 45 primary care practices with a mean ABI of 0.80 (standard deviation [SD] = 0.27) were included. The mean ABI as measured in the vascular laboratory was 0.82 (SD = 0.26). A Bland–Altman plot demonstrated great variability between ABI measurements in primary care practice and the vascular laboratory. Both method of blood pressure measurements and method of calculating the ABI differed greatly between primary care practices.
This study demonstrates that the ABI is often not correctly determined in primary care practice. This phenomenon seems to be due to inaccurate methods for both blood pressure measurements and calculation of the index. A guideline for determining the ABI with a hand-held Doppler, and a training programme seem necessary.
PMCID: PMC2688044  PMID: 19520025
diagnosis; Doppler effect; intermittent claudication; peripheral vascular diseases; ultrasonography
6.  Functional claudication distance: a reliable and valid measurement to assess functional limitation in patients with intermittent claudication 
Disease severity and functional impairment in patients with intermittent claudication is usually quantified by the measurement of pain-free walking distance (intermittent claudication distance, ICD) and maximal walking distance (absolute claudication distance, ACD). However, the distance at which a patient would prefer to stop because of claudication pain seems a definition that is more correspondent with the actual daily life walking distance. We conducted a study in which the distance a patient prefers to stop was defined as the functional claudication distance (FCD), and estimated the reliability and validity of this measurement.
In this clinical validity study we included patients with intermittent claudication, following a supervised exercise therapy program. The first study part consisted of two standardised treadmill tests. During each test ICD, FCD and ACD were determined. Primary endpoint was the reliability as represented by the calculated intra-class correlation coefficients. In the second study part patients performed a standardised treadmill test and filled out the Rand-36 questionnaire. Spearman's rho was calculated to assess validity.
The intra-class correlation coefficients of ICD, FCD and ACD were 0.940, 0.959, and 0.975 respectively. FCD correlated significantly with five out of nine domains, namely physical function (rho = 0.571), physical role (rho = 0.532), vitality (rho = 0.416), pain (rho = 0.416) and health change (rho = 0.414).
FCD is a reliable and valid measurement for determining functional capacity in trained patients with intermittent claudication. Furthermore it seems that FCD better reflects the actual functional impairment. In future studies, FCD could be used alongside ICD and ACD.
PMCID: PMC2667172  PMID: 19254382
7.  Pocket Doppler and vascular laboratory equipment yield comparable results for ankle brachial index measurement 
The ankle brachial index (ABI) is a well-established tool for screening and diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). In this study we assessed the validity of ABI determination using a pocket Doppler device compared with automatic vascular laboratory measurement in patients suspected of PAD.
Consecutive patients with symptoms of PAD referred for ABI measurement between December 2006 and August 2007 were included. Resting ABI was determined with a pocket Doppler, followed by ABI measurement with automatic vascular laboratory equipment, performed by an experienced vascular technician. The leg with the lowest ABI was used for analysis.
From 99 patients the mean resting ABI was 0.80 measured with the pocket Doppler and 0.85 measured with vascular laboratory equipment. A Bland-Altman plot demonstrated great correspondence between the two methods. The mean difference between the two methods was 0.05 (P < .001). Multivariate linear regression analysis showed no dependency of the difference on either the average measured ABI or affected or unaffected leg.
Since the small, albeit statistically significant, difference between the two methods is not clinically relevant, our study demonstrates that ABI measurements with pocket Doppler and vascular laboratory equipment yield comparable results and can replace each other. Results support the use of the pocket Doppler for screening of PAD, allowing initiation of cardiovascular risk factor management in primary care, provided that the equipment operator is experienced.
PMCID: PMC2567287  PMID: 18840278

Results 1-7 (7)