Short and medium term functional capacity after single cycle of controlled physical training in subjects with claudication
AbstractBACKGROUND. Previous studies have shown the positive effect of exercise rehabilitation in patients with claudication, but uncertainties remain surrounding the optimal exercise program strategy and the persistence of the benefits over time. The purpose of the present study has been to prospectively assess the feasibility of short-course intensive supervised exercise training beyond pain threshold and to verify the maintenance of walking capacity during a medium term follow-up. METHODS. Ninety patients with intermittent claudication due to peripheral artery disease were enrolled in a supervised intensive exercise training. Seventy six of them (67 Â± 7 years, 64 male and 12 female, 48 with bilateral claudication) performed a graded treadmill testing at baseline and after 3 months. Sixty patients completed also a specific questionnaire (Walking Impairement Questionnarie). After a mean follow-up of 2.6 years, fifty six patients repeated treadmill testing and 24 patients repeated the questionnaire. RESULTS. After training, the patients showed a 91% and 53% increase in the initial and absolute claudication distance time, respectively (p=0.0000). At follow-up there was no change in the initial claudication distance time, whereas absolute claudication distance time was reduced by only 13% (p=0.0001). All items of the questionnaire showed a statistically significant improvement after training (from 30 to 71%) and remained unchanged at follow-up. Sixty seven percent of the patients were considered responder, 15% partial responder and 18% no-responder to exercise training, whereas at follow- up these percentages were 55%, 13% and 32%, respectively. These results after training and at follow-up were independent from age, sex, smoke, hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes. CONCLUSIONS. Our findings confirm that a short supervised exercise therapy in the form of walking out over pain threshold is effective in maximizing the walking time of the majority of patients with intermittent claudication, independently of demographic data and their associated cardiac risk factors or comorbidities. After a mean follow-up of 2.6 years there was only a minor reduction of absolute claudication distance time and no modification of initial claudication distance time and questionnaireâ€™s score, despite the fact that none of these patients were contacted by the rehabilitation centre after their physical training period.
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