The Link Between Coronary Artery Disease and Peripheral Artery Disease

Video Transcript

Hello, I am Kim Newlin from Sutter Health and PCNA, and I’d like to welcome you to today’s topic, the Link Between PAD and CAD.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is the term used to describe atherosclerosis of the extremities and is estimated to be present in up to 20% of patients older than 60 years.
PAD most commonly occurs in the lower extremities and can range in severity from an asymptomatic drop in ankle pressures to life- and limb-threatening disease.

It is important to identify and treat individuals at risk for, or with PAD. Many patients may mistake the symptoms of PAD for something else, and the condition may be undiagnosed by healthcare professionals.

The risk factors for PAD include diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, family history of PAD/CVD and, especially, smoking. It is important for nurses and advanced practice providers to assess patients for PAD especially when one or more of these risk factors are present.

While untreated PAD may lead to gangrene and amputation, individuals with PAD are also at higher risk for coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke.

The link between PAD and CVD is significant. Just 1 to 2% of those with symptomatic PAD will progress to limb loss, but 75% will die from a cardiovascular event.
Managing CVD risk factors is critical in PAD patients in order to prevent major cardiovascular events.

Healthy lifestyle and medications are used to manage CVD risk factors. Patients should be advised to stop smoking, follow a heart-healthy diet and get regular exercise. Counsel patients in lifestyle change using accepted behavior change strategies such as goal setting, regular follow-up, feedback and relapse prevention.

Medications to manage CVD risk in patients with PAD include aspirin or other antiplatelet therapies along with a statin. Treat blood pressure and blood glucose to accepted goals using guideline-recommended therapies.

It is important to frequently re-assess patient risk factors and assure compliance with lifestyle recommendations and prescribed medications. Regular lab monitoring and feedback regarding CVD health will help keep patients motivated and on track.

Because of the link between PAD and CAD, patients need to be mindful of the signs and symptoms of myocardial ischemia or angina and know what and when to report to health care providers and when it is important to call 9-1-1. Be sure to include this information as part of your patient teaching. Include family members and caregivers as well.

For other topics in this series, additional information and resources, please visit Thank you for joining us.

Funded through a grant from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that these forms include a sample of current clinical guidelines. However, clinical guidelines (federal, state, local, or those issued by clinical organizations) change over time, so the reader should remember to investigate any recent legal or clinical developments.