Treatment for intermittent claudication and the effects on walking distance and quality of life

Lotte M. Kruidenier, W. Viechtbauer, S. P. Nicolai, H.R. Buller, M. H. Prins, J. A. W. Teijink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

133 Downloads (Pure)


The objective of the study was to provide an overview of the most common treatments for intermittent claudication and to determine the effectiveness in improving walking distance and quality of life based on a combination of direct and indirect evidence. We included trials that compared: angioplasty, surgery, exercise therapy or no treatment for intermittent claudication. Outcome measurements were walking distance (maximum, pain-free) and quality of life (physical, mental). We used a network meta-analysis model for the combination of direct and indirect evidence. We included 42 studies, presenting 3106 participants. The network meta-analysis showed that supervised exercise therapy (Delta = 1.62, P <0.01), angioplasty (Delta = 1.89, P <0.01) and surgery (Delta = 2.72, P = 0.02) increased walking distance significantly more than no treatment. Furthermore, supervised exercise therapy (Delta = 0.60, P <0.01), angioplasty (Delta = 0.91, P = 0.01) and surgery (Delta = 1.07, P <0.01) increased physical quality of life more than no treatment. However, in the sensitivity analysis, only supervised exercise therapy had additional value over no symptomatic treatment (Delta = 0.66, P <0.01). In conclusion, this network meta-analysis indicates that supervised exercise therapy is more effective in both increasing walking distance and physical quality of life, compared with no treatment. Angioplasty and surgery also increase walking distance, compared with no treatment, but results for physical quality of life are less convincing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-35
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • intermittent claudication
  • exercise therapy
  • percutaneous vascular intervention
  • bypass surgery

Cite this