Exercise testing and exercise rehabilitation for patients with peripheral arterial disease: Status in 1997

Judith G. Regensteiner, Andrew Gardner, William R. Hiatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Intermittent claudication is a common manifestation of peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD). Patients with claudication are limited in terms of work, housework and leisure activities so that functional status is very impaired. Therefore, the goals for treatment should focus on improving the functional impairment as well as on modifying risk factors. Evaluation of the functional status is of critical importance before beginning any therapy so that any resultant changes can be assessed. A validated graded treadmill protocol and validated questionnaires are used for this purpose. Three questionnaires that are currently used include the Walking Impairment Questionnaire, the PAOD Physical Activity Recall and the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36. Exercise rehabilitation is a method that has been particularly efficacious for treating the functional impairment associated with intermittent claudication. Exercise rehabilitation has been shown to improve pain-free treadmill walking distance by 44% to 300% and absolute walking distance by 25% to 442%. In addition, improvements have also been reported (using questionnaire data) in the ability to walk distances and speeds, in amount of habitual physical activity and in physical functioning. Thus, exercise rehabilitation has caused improvements not only in exercise capacity but also in community-based functional status. Because of the benefits of this treatment, in addition to the low associated morbidity, exercise therapy is recommended as an important treatment option for people with intermittent claudication due to PAOD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-155
Number of pages9
JournalVascular Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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