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Peripheral arterial disease

Find assessment and management information at Brisbane South HealthPathways under:

Useful management information

  • Advance health directive (where available)
  • Diabetic foot ulcer: High-risk foot clinic (referral via podiatry and access via telehealth available –  Statewide Diabetes Clinical Network will provide details)
  • Asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease especially tibial artery stenosis or occlusion when the foot is healthy and the symptoms are proximal to lesions in non-diabetic patients, do not warrant referral and can be managed conservatively with risk factor modification and exercise therapy. Other causes for the more proximal leg pain should be sought.
  • Atherosclerosis risk factor management (antihypertensive; diabetes, dyslipidaemia)
  • Lifestyle modification (Increased activity, dietary, weight, smoking, alcohol)
  • Claudication with no impact on quality of life should be managed conservatively with risk factor control, graduate exercise therapy and anti-platelets.

Minimum referral criteria (Does your patient meet the minimum criteria?)

Does your patient meet the minimum referral criteria?

Category 1
(appointment within 30 calendar days)

If you feel your patient meets Category 1 criteria, please mark “urgent” on your referral

  • Claudication <50m
  • Peripheral aneurysm above the treatment threshold
Category 2
(appointment within 90 calendar days)
  • Intermittent claudication with no signs of limb-threatening ischaemia >50m
  • Asymptomatic peripheral aneurysms below the treatment threshold
  • Significant impact on quality of life
Category 3
(appointment within 365 calendar days)
  • Asymptomatic upper limb arterial disease

If your patient does not meet the minimum referral criteria

  • Assessment and management information can be found on a range of conditions at Brisbane South HealthPathways
  • If the patient does not meet the criteria for referral but the referring practitioner believes the patient requires specialist review, a clinical override may be requested:
    • Please explain why (e.g. warning signs or symptoms, clinical modifiers, uncertain about diagnosis, etc.)
  • Please note that your referral may not be accepted or may be redirected to another service

Standard referral information (To be included in all referrals)

Patient's Demographic Details

  • Full name (including aliases)
  • Date of birth
  • Residential and postal address
  • Telephone contact number/s – home, mobile and alternative
  • Medicare number (where eligible)
  • Name of the parent or caregiver (if appropriate)
  • Preferred language and interpreter requirements
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Referring Practitioner Details

  • Full name
  • Full address
  • Contact details – telephone, fax, email
  • Provider number
  • Date of referral
  • Signature

Relevant clinical information about the condition

  • Presenting symptoms (evolution and duration)
  • Physical findings
  • Details of previous treatment (including systemic and topical medications prescribed) including the course and outcome of the treatment
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Details of any associated medical conditions which may affect the condition or its treatment (e.g. diabetes), noting these must be stable and controlled prior to referral
  • Current medications and dosages
  • Drug allergies
  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs use

Reason for request

  • To establish a diagnosis
  • For treatment or intervention
  • For advice and management
  • For specialist to take over management
  • Reassurance for GP/second opinion
  • For a specified test/investigation the GP can't order, or the patient can't afford or access
  • Reassurance for the patient/family
  • For other reason (e.g. rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • Clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary

Clinical modifiers

  • Impact on employment
  • Impact on education
  • Impact on home
  • Impact on activities of daily living
  • Impact on ability to care for others
  • Impact on personal frailty or safety
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Other relevant information

  • Willingness to have surgery (where surgery is a likely intervention)
  • Choice to be treated as a public or private patient
  • Compensable status (e.g. DVA, Work Cover, Motor Vehicle Insurance, etc.)

Essential referral information for Peripheral arterial disease referrals (Referral will be returned without this)

  • History including
    • incapacitating claudication distance
    • rest pain
    • ischaemic changes
  • Peripheral pulses: femoral/popliteal/foot
  • Risk factors particularly smoking and diabetes
  • Recent cardiac tests, including stress test results
  • Duplex USS scan results (Category 1 conditions only)
  • BSL, Lipid profile
  • U&E, FBC & Coags

If a specific test result is unable to be obtained due to access, financial, religious, cultural or consent reasons a Clinical Override may be requested. This reason must be clearly articulated in the body of the referral.

Additional referral information for Peripheral arterial disease referrals

  • Homocysteine level (HbA1C if diabetic)

Out of catchment

Metro South Health is responsible for providing public health services to the people who reside within its boundaries. Special consideration is made for patients requiring tertiary care or services that are not provided by their local Hospital and Health Service.  If your patient lives outside the Metro South Health area and you wish to refer them to one of our services, inclusion of information regarding their particular medical and social factors will assist with the triaging of your referral.

Last updated 18 March 2022