Living a burdensome and demanding life: a qualitative systematic review of the patients experiences of peripheral arterial disease

Ukachukwu Okoroafor Abaraogu*, Elochukwu Fortune Ezenwankwo, Philippa Margaret Dall, Chris Andrew Seenan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
112 Downloads (Pure)


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) has a significant negative impact on the quality of life of individuals. Understanding the experiences of people living with PAD will be useful in developing comprehensive patient-centred secondary prevention therapies for this population.

The aim of this study is to identify first-hand accounts of patients’ experiences of living with PAD.

Six databases (CINALH, PsyclNFO, MEDLINE, AMED, EMBASE, Social citation index/Science citation index via Web of Science (WOS)) and reference lists of identified studies were searched until September 2017 (updated February 2018). Qualitative studies reporting patients’ account of living with PAD were eligible for inclusion. A framework thematic synthesis was implemented.

Fourteen studies with 360 participants were included. Pain and walking limitation were recurrent among the varied symptom descriptions. Patients’ ignorance and trivialisation of symptoms contributed to delays in diagnosis. Inadequate engagement in disease understanding and treatment decisions meant patients had poor attitudes towards walking treatments and unrealistic expectations about surgery. Depending on symptom progression, patients battle with walking impairment, powerlessness, and loss of independence which were a source of burden to them. Lack of disease understanding is central through patients’ journey with PAD and, although they subsequently began adaptation to long term living with PAD, many worried about their future.

Disease understanding is vital across the illness trajectory in patients with PAD. Although certain experiences are common throughout patient journey, some might be unique to a particular stage (e.g. unrealistic expectation about surgery, or rationale of walking in spite of pain in a supervised exercise program). Given that PAD is an overarching construct ranging from the mildest form of intermittent claudication to severe critical limb ischemia with ulceration and gangrene, consideration of important patient constructs specific to each stage of the disease may enhance treatment success. Systematic review registration CRD42017070417.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0207456
Pages (from-to)e0207456
Number of pages21
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2018


  • peripheral arterial disease
  • quality of life, rehabilitation, symptomatic treatment, clean intermittent catheterisation, multiple sclerosis
  • humans
  • middle aged
  • male
  • treatment outcome
  • exercise therapy
  • pain/epidemiology
  • peripheral arterial disease/epidemiology
  • peripheral vascular siseases/epidemiology
  • walking/physiology
  • aged, 80 and over
  • quality of Life
  • adult
  • female
  • aged

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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