Wearable Sensor Technology Efficacy in Peripheral Vascular Disease (wSTEP): A Randomized Controlled Trial

Ann Surg. 2018 Dec;268(6):1113-1118. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000002300.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of using wearable activity monitors (WAMs) in patients with intermittent claudication (IC) within a single-center randomized controlled trial.

Background: WAMs allow users to set daily activity targets and monitor their progress. They may offer an alternative treatment to supervised exercise programs (SEPs) for patients with IC.

Methods: Thirty-seven patients with IC were recruited and randomized into intervention or control group. The intervention consisted of a feedback-enabled, wrist-worn activity monitor (WAM) in addition to access to SEP. The control group was given access to SEP only. The outcome measures were maximum walking distance (MWD), claudication distance (CD), and quality of life as measured by the VascuQol questionnaire. Participants were assessed upon recruitment, and at 3, 6, and 12 months.

Results: Patients in the WAM group showed significant improvement in MWD at 3 and 6 months (80-112 m, to 178 m; P < 0.001), which was sustained at 12 months. The WAM group also increased CD (40 vs 110 m; P < 0.001) and VascuQol score (4.7 vs 5.8; P = 0.004). The control group saw a temporary increase in VascuQol score at 6 months (4.5 vs 4.7; P = 0.028), but no other improvements in MWD or CD were observed. Significantly higher improvements in MWD were seen in the WAM group compared with that in the control group at 6 months (82 vs -5 m; P = 0.009, r = 0.47) and 12 months (69 vs 7.5 m; P = 0.011, r = 0.52).

Conclusions: The study demonstrates the significant, sustained benefit of WAM-led technologies for patients with IC. This potentially resource-sparing intervention is likely to provide a valuable adjunct or alternative to SEP.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intermittent Claudication / physiopathology*
  • Intermittent Claudication / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wearable Electronic Devices*