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After completing this case study, the reader should be able to:

  • Identify risk factors for peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

  • Describe the symptoms and diagnosis of PAD.

  • Recommend appropriate nonpharmacologic treatment strategies for PAD, including risk factor modification, exercise, and revascularization.

  • Design an appropriate pharmacologic treatment plan for a patient with PAD.

  • Provide appropriate education to a patient with PAD.


Chief Complaint

“I am having pain in both legs and in my left foot.”


Angie Belden is a 56-year-old woman with hypertension, diabetes, hypothyroidism, dyslipidemia, and a history of bilateral leg weakness for the previous year. She reports to her primary care provider today with increased numbness and weakness when she walks. She reports that it is painful to walk even for 4–5 minutes and that her legs are often weak and “give out.” She is concerned because she lives alone and is responsible for walking her beloved Labrador retriever, Jules. Her symptoms tend to get better when she is able to rest and prop her feet up. She would also like a “checkup” on her other chronic conditions as well.







Mother died of a stroke at the age of 67; father died of pneumonia at the age of 62.


Works as a biller in a dentist’s office; has one child; lives alone; smokes 1 ppd × 25 years; denies ETOH and illicit drug use; has one dog at home


Aspirin 81 mg PO daily

Atenolol 50 mg PO daily

Gabapentin 600 mg PO TID

Hydrocodone/acetaminophen 7.5/500 mg q 6 hours PRN pain

Levothyroxine 75 mcg PO daily

Metformin 1000 mg PO BID

Simvastatin 20 mg PO daily

Hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg PO daily




The patient complains of dyspnea on exertion, lower extremity muscle aches, and muscle weakness. Denies chest pains, palpitations, syncope, and orthopnea. Denies nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, change in bowel habits, abdominal pain, or melena. Denies transient paralysis, seizures, syncope, and tremors.

Physical Examination


The patient is a Caucasian woman in NAD. She appears older than her stated age.



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