Objective: Exercise advice is the main treatment for symptom relief in the UK for patients with mild to moderate Intermittent Claudication (IC). Would a weekly exercise and motivation class for 6 months offer adjuvant benefit over written and verbal exercise advice alone?
Patients and methods: Fifty-nine patients attending a regional vascular centre for whom IC was the main factor affecting mobility were randomised to either exercise advice alone (n=30) or exercise advice with a once a week 45 min supervised exercise/motivation class (n=29). The mean age was 68 years. Baseline and 6-month assessment included a Quality of Life Questionnaire--the Short-Form-36, the Charing Cross Symptom Specific Claudication Questionnaire (CCCQ) and treadmill walking distance (3.5 km/h 12%).
Results: At 6-month follow-up the supervised exercise group had improved their treadmill walking by 129% compared to 69% in the advice alone group (p=0.001). This significant improvement was maintained at the subsequent 9 and 12-month follow-up assessments. By the 9-month stage the advice only group CCCQ score had improved 16% from baseline, while the supervised exercise group had a significantly better 43% improvement in base line score (p<0.05). Self reported frequency of walks was higher in the exercise class group being significant for improvement in CCCQ score.
Conclusion: A weekly, supervised exercise and motivation class for a 6-month period provides a significant improvement in patients' symptoms, quality of life, and distance walked compared with advice alone and this improvement continues after attendance at class has ceased.