Medical Surgical Peripheral Vascular Disease #4

Question

The nurse is caring for a client diagnosed with peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD). What assessment finding is most consistent with this diagnosis?

Answers

  1. Thick, tough, brownish pigmented skin to extremities
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because thick, tough, brownish pigmented skin to extremities is consistent with peripheral venous disease, not peripheral arterial disease. Assessment of the affected extremity, including comparison of pulses, temperature, skin, pain from the affected extremity to the unaffected is important in PAD.

  2. Unequal peripheral pulses between extremities
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because symptoms associated with PAD include pain in the leg when walking, decreased pulse, coolness, hairlessness, and sores that will not heal on the affected extremity. Assessment of the affected extremity, including comparison of pulses, temperature, skin, pain from the affected extremity to the unaffected is important.

  3. Complaints of pain relieved by elevation
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because complaints of pain relieved by elevation is a finding consistent with peripheral venous disease, not peripheral arterial disease. Assessment of the affected extremity, including comparison of pulses, temperature, skin, pain from the affected extremity to the unaffected is important in PAD.

  4. Diffuse varicosities along back of legs bilaterally
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because diffuse varicosities along the back of legs bilaterally is a finding consistent with peripheral venous disease, not peripheral arterial disease. Assessment of the affected extremity, including comparison of pulses, temperature, skin, pain from the affected extremity to the unaffected is important in PAD.

Overview

Peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD) is a condition where circulation is compromised due to occluded peripheral arteries. Assessment of the affected extremity, including comparison of pulses, temperature, skin, pain from the affected extremity to the unaffected is important.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD) is a condition where circulation is compromised due to occlusion of peripheral arteries, often associated with atherosclerosis (fatty deposits that build up on the walls of the arteries). Symptoms associated with PAD include pain in the leg when walking, decreased or absent pulse, mottled pallor which worsens when elevated and rubor when dependent, dry scaly skin, paresthesia, coolness, hairlessness, and sores that will not heal on the affected extremity. Assessment of the affected extremity, including comparison of pulses, temperature, skin, pain from the affected extremity to the unaffected is important.

Test Taking Tip

Understanding artery anatomy and physiology will help the test taker logically select answers that are related to arterial problems, such as decreased or unequal pulses in the lower extremities.

Video Rationale