Rational approach to the differentiation of vascular and neurogenic claudication

J. J. Goodreau, J. K. Creasy, D. P. Flanigan, S. J. Burnham, J. C. Kudrna, M. F. Schafer, J. J. Bergan, J. S. Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Lower extremity pain caused by exercise but relieved by rest is usually a reliable symptom of chronic arterial insufficiency. However, similar discomfort often occurs in patients with neurospinal compression. Furthermore, arterial occlusive disease and demonstrable spinal stenosis may be present simultaneously. Fifty-two patients with symptoms suggesting intermittent claudication comprised the study group. All were proven to have a nonarterial cause of their complaint. The study consists of a retrospective analysis of the diagnostic methods used in confirming the proper diagnosis. Conclusions reached suggest a rational approach to solution of individual patient problems. The nonvascular origin of the symptoms was suggested initially by clinical evaluation in 19 patients, and by noninvasive arterial evaluation in an additional 22. The neurospinal origin of symptoms was obscured in 11 patients because of the presence of significant arterial occlusive disease, as demonstrated by noninvasive arterial testing. Seven of the 11 patients underwent arterial reconstruction, which failed to relieve their symptoms. Subsequently, the neurospinal origin of these symptoms was proven by appropriate treatment. This experience has shown that the errors in diagnosis and treatment could have been avoided by using a combined diagnostic approach, correlating results of an accurate clinical evaluation with noninvasive arterial testing as well as the findings shown on lumbosacral spine films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-757
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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