Background: Patients with intermittent claudication (IC) could benefit from low-cost, effective rehabilitative programs. This retrospective study evaluates compliance, impact on Quality of Life (QoL) and cost-effectiveness of a hospital prescribed, at-home performed (Test-in/Train-out) rehabilitative program for patients with IC.
Methods and results: Two-hundred and eighty-nine patients with IC (71 ± 10.1 years, M = 210) were enrolled for a 2-year period. Two daily 10-min home walking sessions at maximal asymptomatic speed were prescribed, with serial check-ups at the hospital. Compliance with the program was assessed by assigning a score of 1 (lowest compliance) to 4 (highest compliance). The SF-36 questionnaire and a constant-load treadmill test were used to evaluate QoL and Initial/Absolute Claudication Distance, respectively. Both direct and indirect costs of the program were considered for cost-effectiveness analysis. Two-hundred and fifty patients (70.5 ± 9.2 years, M = 191), at Fontaine's II-B stage (86%), were included in the study. No adverse events were reported. The average compliance score was 3.1. At discharge, both SF-36 domains and walking performance significantly increased (P < 0.0001). A total of 1,839 in-hospital check-ups (7.36 /patient) were performed. Direct and indirect costs represented 93% and 7% of the total costs, respectively. The average costs of a visit and of a therapy cycle were C68.93 and C507.20, respectively. The cost to walk an additional meter before stopping was C9.22.
Conclusions: A Test-in/Train-out program provided favourable patient compliance, QoL impact and cost-effectiveness in patients with IC.