Long-term results of peripheral arterial disease rehabilitation

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Purpose: Although the Peripheral Arterial Disease Rehabilitation Program (PADRx) improves walking ability and quality of life over brief periods of follow-up, the long-term durability of results has not been established. This study examined functional status, walking ability, and quality of life in patients several months after completion of a 12-week PADRx. Methods: Patients who completed a PADRx were eligible for participation. A Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form (SF-36), Walking Impairment Questionnaire (WIQ), and physical activity questionnaire were administered by telephone. A progressive treadmill test was performed on-site. Results: Of 63 eligible patients, 14 were lost to follow-up, 11 refused participation, and four died. Thirty-four patients had completed PADRx 20 to 80 months previously (mean, 48.2 ± 13.7 months), and completed the phone survey. Fifteen patients reported exercising a minimum of 60 min/wk for 3 months (EX group), and 19 had not exercised in the preceding 3 months (SED group). Self-reported SF-36 values were significantly different between the EX and SED groups for Physical Function (43.3 ± 8.2 vs 34.2 ± 7.8), Role-Physical Function (41.2 ± 7.7 vs 32.8 ± 9.2), and Bodily Pain (46.9 ± 8.8 vs 38.9 ± 7.1), as well as the Physical Composite (43.5 ± 6.5 vs 34.0 vs 5.8) domains of the SF-36. Similarly the WIQ demonstrated significant differences in Walking Distance (46.8 ± 36.2 vs 7.8 ± 9.4), Walking Speed (47.5 ± 32.6 vs 14.5 ± 13.9), and Stair Climbing (60.6 ± 36.6 vs 37.1 ± 27.6), favoring the EX group. Sixteen patients, equally distributed between the EX and SED groups, completed the progressive treadmill test. Both groups had experienced improvement (P < .05) in claudication pain time and maximal walking time after completing the 12-week supervised program. The EX group maintained increased claudication pain time of 121% and maximum walking time of 109% over baseline, whereas the SED group values had returned to baseline (P < .05). Conclusions: Patients with claudication realize symptomatic and functional improvement with supervised exercise programs. Those who continue to exercise will potentially maintain these benefits and experience improved health-related quality of life.

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Journal of Vascular Surgery