Comparison of Three Progressive Exercise Protocols in Peripheral Vascular Occlusive Disease

Andrew W. Gardner, James S. Skinner, Natalie R. Vaughan, Cedric X. Bryant, L. Kent Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Although claudication pain and hemodynamic responses to exercise are usually clinically assessed via graded treadmill walking, measuring these responses to other commonly performed tasks may yield a more nearly complete evaluation of peripheral vascular occlusive disease. Thus, the purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to determine the reliability of claudication and hemodynamic responses to level walking and stairclimbing and (2) to compare these responses with those obtained with graded walking at similar oxygen consumption. Ten patients with stable claudication symptoms performed graded walking, level walking, and stairclimbing progressive protocols with respective increases in grade, walking speed, and stepping rate on a modified stairclimbing device every two minutes. Similar peak oxygen consumption (13.60 to 14.18 mL/kg/min) was attained with the three protocols (P = NS). Reliability coefficients for the times to onset and to maximal claudication pain during level walking (R = 0.95 and 0.95, respectively) and during stairclimbing (R = 0.92 and 0.82, respectively) were similar to those previously obtained during graded walking. Reliability coefficients for foot transcutaneous oxygen tension during and following level walking (R = 0.78 to 0.96) and stairclimbing (R = 0.65 to 0.98) and for ankle systolic blood pressure following level walking (R = 0.95 to 0.97) and stairclimbing (R = 0.90 to 0.98) were also similar to those previously found with graded walking. Additionally, claudication and hemodynamic measurements were similar among the three exercise protocols. Thus, because graded walking, level walking, and stairclimbing progressive exercise protocols yield reliable and similar information about the hemodynamic severity of peripheral vascular occlusive disease, only one is needed for evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-671
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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