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KU School of Medicine Conducts Study of Poor Leg Circulation

Deborah Shaar

Doctors at the KU School of Medicine in Wichita are trying to find ways to successfully treat a common illness that often starts with poor leg circulation. Their study of ‘peripheral arterial disease’--or P.A.D.--focuses on African-Americans, who are twice as likely as others to develop the disease. KMUW’s Deborah Shaar reports.

P.A.D. develops when arteries become clogged with plaque that in turn limits blood flow, causing pain in the leg and making walking difficult.

KU Doctor Tracie Collins has been studying the disease in various ethnic groups for twenty years. She says it’s important to treat P.A.D. because it puts people at risk for a heart attack, stroke or leg amputation.

“You have cramping in the back of your legs with walking or even a heaviness or discomfort where you think 'oh I better slow down,'" says Collins. "And over time your physical activity becomes limited and you have poor quality of life.”

Collins’ study is testing different intervention techniques, such as counseling to see what works with patients.

“I’m hoping to see that implemented in practice, so that we can improve how we are motivating our patients to walk for exercise to help slow the progression of their P.A.D.,” she says.

One in 20 adults over the age of 50 has P.A.D., according to Collins.

KU P.A.D. Study Facts: 

  • 100 people in Wichita and Kansas City have participated in study to date
  • 200 more participants are needed by May 2015
  • Study targeting people who may not know they have P.A.D.
  • Participants receive testing, P.A.D. screening and are paid $350.00
  • Researchers conduct follow-up with participants for one year

P.A.D. Risk Factors:

  • over 50 years old
  • have diabetes
  • have high blood pressure
  • have high blood cholesterol
  • have a personal history of vascular disease, heart attack or stroke
  • are African-American

Here's more information on P.A.D. from The National Institutes of Health.




Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.