Comparison of two progressive treadmill tests in patients with peripheral arterial disease

Document Type


Date of Original Version



In a vascular rehabilitation program, 28% of our frail elderly patients are unable to be tested with traditional progressive exercise protocols at program entry due to the high (2.0 miles/h or 3.2 km/h) initial treadmill speeds. The purpose of this investigation was to compare a new progressive treadmill protocol which has a reduced initial speed (1.0 mile/h or 1.6 km/h) to an established protocol performed at 2.0 miles/h (3.2 km/h) to determine the comparability and reproducibility of the new protocol. Eleven patients with arterial claudication performed three symptom-limited exercise tests in random order. Two tests used the new protocol while the remaining trial used the established protocol. Claudication pain was measured using a 5-point scale. Oxygen consumption, heart rate, minute ventilation, respiratory exchange ratio and blood pressure at peak exercise were similar among the three trials. There were strong intraclass correlations for peak oxygen consumption (r = 0.97), onset of claudication (r = 0.96) and maximum walking time (r = 0.98) between the two trials using the new protocol. There was also a significant correlation between the new protocol and the established protocol for peak oxygen consumption (r = 0.90) and maximum walking time (r = 0.89). The new progressive treadmill protocol represents a valid, reliable protocol for patients with arterial claudication. This protocol may be useful for testing patients with a low functional capacity so that clinically appropriate exercise prescriptions can be established and the efficacy of treatments can be determined.

Publication Title

Vascular Medicine