Telemedicine in patients with peripheral arterial disease: is it worth the effort?

Introduction: For patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), the various components of telemedicine, such as telemonitoring, telecoaching, and teleconsultation, could be valuable in daily management. The objective of this review was to give an overview of the current use of telemedicine interventions in PAD.

Areas covered: A literature search was performed for studies that evaluated patients with PAD of the aorto-pedal trajectory, who were monitored by telemedicine and acted upon accordingly. The primary outcome was health-related outcomes. The studies that were found focused mainly on wearable activity monitoring and telecoaching in PAD (n = 4) or wound monitoring after vascular surgery (n = 2). Main results indicate that telemedicine interventions are able to detect (post-operative) complications early, improve functional capacity and claudication onset time, and improve PAD patients’ quality of life.

Expert opinion: The use of telemedicine in PAD patients is still an under-explored area. Studies investigating the use of telemedicine in PAD are very limited and show varying results. Owing to its high potential in improving physical ability, lifestyle coaching, and timely detection of deterioration, future research should focus on proper implementation of telemedicine in PAD patients, including clinical and feasibility outcomes, effect on workload of nurses, and cost-efficiency.