Optimizing supervised exercise therapy for patients with intermittent claudication

Saskia P. A. Nicolai, Erik J. M. Hendriks, Martin H. Prins, Joep A. W. Teijink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Background: The first-line intervention for intermittent claudication is usually supervised exercise therapy (SET). The literature describes a range of exercise programs varying in setting, duration, and content. The purpose of the present study was to examine the exercise protocols offered and to identify the impact of the intensity of the SET programs (in terms of frequency, duration, and type of exercise) on improvements in walking distance (response) in the first 3 months. The present study is part of the Exercise Therapy in Peripheral Arterial Disease (EXITPAD) study, a multicenter randomized clinical trial comparing the effects of SET provided by regional physiotherapists, with or without daily feedback, on the level of activities with the effects of walking advice. Methods: The analysis included patients randomized to receive SET with or without feedback. The physical therapists administering the SET were asked to fill out therapy evaluation sheets stating frequency, duration, and type of exercises. The relationship between training volume and the impact on walking distance was explored by dividing training volume data into tertiles and relating them to the median change in maximum walking distance at 3 and 12 months. Results: Data of 169 patients were included in the analysis. A SET program consisting of at least two training sessions per week each lasting over 30 minutes, during the first 3 months of a 1-year program tailored to individual patients' needs led to better results in terms of walking distance after 3 and 12 months than the other variants. The results of our analysis dividing training volume into tertiles suggest that there is a relationship between training volume and improvement in walking distance and that at least 590 minutes of training should be offered in the first 3 months. No differences were found between program involving only walking and a combination of exercises, nor between individual and group training. Conclusion: A SET programs consisting of at least two training sessions a week, each lasting over 30 minutes, should be offered during the first 3 months of the SET program to optimize improvement in terms of maximum walking distance. (J Vasc Surg 2010;52:1226-33.)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1226-1233
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

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