Supervised exercise therapy: it does work, but how to set up a program?

David Hageman, Marijn M. L. Van Den Houten, Steffie Spruijt, Lindy N. M. Gommans, Marc R. M. Scheltinga, Joep A. W. Teijink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Intermittent claudication (IC) is a manifestation of peripheral arterial disease. IC has a high prevalence in the older population, is closely associated with other expressions of atherosclerotic disease and often co-exists in multimorbid patients. Treatment of IC should address reduction of cardiovascular risk and improvement of functional capacity and health-related quality of life (QoL). As recommended by contemporary international guidelines, the first-line treatment includes supervised exercise therapy (SET). In several randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews, SET is compared with usual care, placebo, walking advice and endovascular revascularization. The evidence supporting the efficacy of SET programs to alleviate claudication symptoms is robust. SET improves walking distance and health-related QoL and appears to be the most cost-effective treatment for IC. Nevertheless, only few of all newly diagnosed IC patients worldwide receive this safe, efficient and structured treatment. Worldwide implementation of structured SET programs is seriously impeded by outdated arguments favoring an invasive intervention, absence of a network of specialized physical therapists providing standardized SET and lack of awareness and/ or knowledge of the importance of SET by referring physicians. Besides, misguiding financial incentives and lack of reimbursement hamper actual use of SET programs. In the Netherlands, a national integrated care network (ClaudicatioNet) was launched in 2011 to combat treatment shortcomings and stimulate cohesion and collaboration between stakeholders. This care intervention has resulted in optimized quality of care for all patients with IC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-312
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Surgery
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Intermittent claudication
  • Exercise therapy
  • PERIPHERAL ARTERIAL-DISEASE
  • HOME-BASED EXERCISE
  • INTERMITTENT CLAUDICATION
  • ENDOVASCULAR REVASCULARIZATION
  • PRACTICE GUIDELINES
  • COST-EFFECTIVENESS
  • OCCLUSIVE DISEASE
  • LOWER-EXTREMITY
  • HEALTH SYSTEMS
  • TASK-FORCE

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