Claudication symptom experience in men and women: Is there a difference?

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Previous research has shown that differences exist between men and women in clinicians' perception of some cardiovascular symptoms, such as angina associated with coronary heart disease. 1 However, a gap exists in literature about the potential gender differences in the experience of claudication symptoms related to peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The specific aim of this study was to determine whether differences exist between men and women with PAD in their experience of claudication. A qualitative analysis of a parent study in which men and women with PAD described their claudication symptoms was used to address the objective. In the parent study, open-ended, tape-recorded interviews were conducted with 38 patients (24 men, 14 women) ages 44 to 83 years (mean 65) from 2 United States medical centers during 1996 to 1997 to report patient experience of PAD. 12 In the present study, a content-analysis approach was used to examine these interviews and explore whether different patterns were present in the way men and women describe their claudication symptoms. Four major themes were identified in how patients described their claudication symptoms: (1) symptom descriptions; (2) pathophysiology descriptions; (3) response descriptions; and (4) understanding of disease process. Overall, no striking gender differences in the claudication symptom experience of this subject group were evident. However, some subtle gender differences were identified. Regardless of gender, it is important for clinicians to remember that many different types of claudication symptom descriptions exist. The subtle gender differences in claudication descriptions reported during the interviews could be investigated through further interview sessions with questions developed specifically to elicit information about the claudication experience and possible gender differences in these descriptions. Assessment and care management should expand to include symptom experience beyond classic claudication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-97
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


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