The impact of clinical, psychological, behavioral, social, and environmental factors on self-perceived symptom severity in a male cohort with intermittent claudication

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Objective:To understand the relationship between self-perceived severity of intermittent claudication and various associated nonclinical factors, we examined how correlates in domains of physical activity (ie, clinical, psychological, behavioral, social, and environmental factors) relate to exertional limb symptoms.Methods:A survey was administered to individuals with intermittent claudication during their initial outpatient assessment. The subjects' self-reported exertional limb symptom severity and classic-versus-atypical claudication classification was based on the Walking Impairment Questionnaire (WIQ) and San Diego Claudication Questionnaire (SDCQ), respectively. We evaluated psychosocial and environmental factors, osteoarthritis symptoms, health, behaviors, and beliefs. Logistic and linear regressions identified factors with a strong independent association with total WIQ scores and the SDCQs.Results:A cohort of 102 subjects (99.0% male) was enrolled in the study. The median age was 65 years with a median ankle-brachial index of 0.69. Forty-three subjects (43%) had “typical” claudication per SDCQs. Individuals with atypical claudication were more likely to report higher Aberdeen Clinical Back Pain Questionnaire scores (odds ratio, 1.04; P = .04) and no depressive symptoms (odds ratio, 8.30; P = .03). Exertional limb symptom severity among the entire cohort was significantly associated with increasing osteoarthritis symptoms (P <.001), age (P = .02), a reserved personality (P = .008), and the belief that an exercise regimen would not improve symptoms (P = .005), self-perceived levels of boredom (P = .002), and the belief that exercise (P = .002) was the best way to improve symptoms were associated with decreased symptom severity. When restricted to those with atypical pain, significant factors associated with increasing exertional symptom severity included age greater than 60 years (P = .005), osteoarthritis (P = .02), alcohol use (P = .01), belief that exercise would not improve walking (P = .03), and difficulty walking around the neighborhood (P = .02). When restricted to those with classic claudication, significant factors associated with increasing exertional limb symptom severity included frequent pain or aching in the calves while walking or sitting (P = .03 [walking]; P = .01 [sitting]) and occasional morning joint stiffness (P = .007). Exertional limb symptom severity was also associated with high limitations at home (P = .003) and a belief that exercise would not improve walking (P = .005) among those with classic claudication.Conclusions:Symptom severity and type of pain are associated with a number of nonclinical factors. A multidomain approach, as indicated by the models above, would benefit the continuum of care for intermittent claudication, where management is integrated and coordinated among multiple lines of care.

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