Effects of a long-term exercise program on lower limb mobility, physiological responses, walking performance, and physical activity levels in patients with peripheral arterial disease

J Vasc Surg. 2008 Feb;47(2):303-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2007.10.038.


Objective: The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of a 12-month exercise program on lower limb mobility (temporal-spatial gait parameters and gait kinematics), walking performance, peak physiological responses, and physical activity levels in individuals with symptoms of intermittent claudication due to peripheral arterial disease (PAD-IC).

Methods: Participants (n = 21) with an appropriate history of PAD-IC, ankle-brachial pressure index (ABI) <0.9 in at least one leg and a positive Edinburgh claudication questionnaire response were prospectively recruited. Participants were randomly allocated to either a control PAD-IC group (CPAD-IC) (n = 11) that received standard medical therapy and a treatment PAD-IC group (TPAD-IC) (n = 10), which also took part in a 12-month supervised exercise program. A further group of participants (n = 11) free of PAD (ABI >0.9) and who were non-regular exercisers were recruited from the community to act as age and mass matched controls (CON). Lower limb mobility was determined via two-dimensional video motion analysis. A graded treadmill test was used to assess walking performance and peak physiological responses to exercise. Physical activity levels were measured via a 7-day pedometer recording. Differences between groups were analyzed via repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Results: The 12-month supervised exercise program had no significant effect on lower limb mobility, peak physiological responses, or physical activity levels in TPAD-IC compared with CPAD-IC participants. However, the TPAD-IC participants demonstrated significantly greater walking performance (171% improvement in pain free walking time and 120% improvement in maximal walking time compared with baseline).

Conclusion: The results of this study confirm that a 12-month supervised exercise program will result in improved walking performance, but does not have an impact on lower limb mobility, peak physiological responses, or physical activity levels of PAD-IC patients.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ankle / blood supply
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Blood Pressure
  • Brachial Artery / physiopathology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Gait*
  • Humans
  • Intermittent Claudication / etiology*
  • Intermittent Claudication / physiopathology
  • Intermittent Claudication / therapy
  • Lower Extremity / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / complications
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Video Recording
  • Walking*