The efficacy of physical training alone or combined with antiplatelet therapy (dipyridamole and aspirin) was studied in 30 patients with stage II peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD). Patients were randomly allocated to one of the following groups: Group A--dipyridamole 75 mg three times daily and aspirin 330 mg once daily: Group B--physical exercise; Group C--physical exercise and dipyridamole 75 mg three time daily and aspirin 330 mg once daily. After six months' treatment the pain-free walking time (PFWT) and the maximum walking time (MWT) improved significantly (p less than 0.05) in all three groups. In group A the PFWT lengthened by 35% (from 101.00 +/- 34.56 to 137.32 +/- 40.50 s) and the MWT by 38% (from 150.34 +/- 55.60 to 207.26 +/- 60.67 s); in group B the PFWT lengthened by 90% (from 90.65 +/- 40.54 to 171.45 +/- 55.60 s) and the MWT by 86% (from 145.39 +/- 60.50 to 270.63 +/- 63.61 s). When physical exercise was associated with drugs as in group C, the PFWT lengthened by 120% (from 89.51 +/- 43.89 to 196.72 +/- 51.73 s) and the MWT by 105% (from 160.43 +/- 59.84 to 329.05 +/- 63.96 s). No significant variations were observed at any stage of the study in the ankle/arm pressure ratio at rest and after standard treadmill exercise, in the plethysmographic rest and peak flows, or in the transcutaneous oxygen pressure in basal conditions and in its half recovery time after an induced ischemia. The results confirm the benefits of regular exercise in stage II PAOD patients but suggest they may be enhanced by antiplatelet therapy.