Screening of peripheral arterial disease in primary health care

Zsombor Tóth-Vajna, Gergely Tóth-Vajna, Zsuzsanna Gombos, Brigitta Szilágyi, Zoltán Járai, Márton Berczeli, Péter Sótonyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose: The screening tool for diagnosing lower extremity arterial disease is the assessment of the ankle-brachial index (ABI), which is widely used in general practice. However, resting ABI can easily produce a false negative result. In light of this, our goal was to determine the proportion of definitive diagnoses (peripheral arterial disease [PAD] confirmed or refuted) among patients screened in general practice, and the rate of cases in which the need for further specialized examination is necessary, with special attention to groups having non-compressible arteries and ABI negative symptomatic status. The aim of our work is to improve the efficiency of primary health care screening in PAD and reduce the extremely high domestic amputation ratio. Patients and methods: Eight hundred and sixteen patients were screened. We used the Edinburgh Questionnaire and recorded medical histories, major risk factors, current complaints, and medication. Physical examinations were performed, including ABI testing. Results: Thirty-three percent complained about lower extremity claudication; 23% had abnormal ABI values; 13% of the patients within the normal ABI range had complaints of dysbasia; and 12% were in the non-compressible artery group. The ABI-negative symptomatic group’s risk factor profile showed a close similarity to the clear PAD-positive and noncompressible artery groups. Conclusion: The percentage of PAD could be higher than the number of patients diagnosed by ABI screening. Nearly a quarter of the population fell into the non-compressible artery and ABI-negative symptomatic groups, together defined as the “murky zone”. When screening purposely for PAD, these patients deserve special attention due to the insufficient selectivity and sensitivity of measurements. If there is high clinical suspicion of PAD in spite of normal ABI values, further assessment may be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-363
Number of pages9
JournalVascular Health and Risk Management
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • ABI-negative symptomatic
  • Ankle-brachial index
  • Diabetes
  • Non-compressible artery
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Screening method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hematology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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