Pain-free exercise may lower intermittent claudication in patients with PAD
Among patients with peripheral artery disease, the use of alternative pain-free exercise methods may be beneficial in lowering the severity of intermittent claudication, according to findings published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
The methods may also allow increased adherence and completion rates of exercise, according to the researchers.
Edward Lin, MSc, and colleagues sought to compare completion and adherence rates of exercise programs in traditional exercise interventions with alternative exercise interventions with intermittent claudication.
“Many patients with PAD exercise very little or not at all,” Lin, a graduate student at the University of Toronto, said in a press release. “It has been suggested that the pain component of conventional exercise programs is a deterrent. More recent studies have shown that pain-free forms of exercise are equally effective, but patients are not always given the option.”
Lin and colleagues included studies that involved structured exercise and explicitly reported the number of participants who began and finished the programs. The researchers found 6,814 records based on inclusion criteria.
Of the 84 studies reviewed, there were 122 separate exercise groups found that included traditional walking exercise (n = 64) or alternative exercise, the researchers wrote.
Lin and colleagues found that alternative exercise had higher rates of completion (86.6% vs. 80.8%; P < .001) and adherence (85.5% vs. 77.6%; P = .02) compared with the traditional exercise groups.
With a further emphasis on patient perspectives in treatment of intermittent claudication, clinicians should find more effective methods that can help patients succeed, Lin and colleagues wrote.
“Pain is not a necessary part of exercise for patients with peripheral arterial disease,” Lin said in the release. “If patients prefer not to walk to pain, they can be encouraged to do pain-free exercise they enjoy. This should increase the likelihood of maintaining long-term physical activity.”
In a related editorial, Ligia M. Antunes-Correa, PhD, of the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and Exercise Physiology Unit at the Heart Institute at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, wrote: “The lack of motivation plays the main role in dropout rates during exercise programs. Thus, if the adherence rates are better in nontraditional exercises, these types of exercise may be included in rehabilitation programs. They are a potential strategy to encourage participation in exercise programs for patients with PAD and [intermittent claudication].” – by Earl Holland Jr.
Disclosures: The authors and editorial writer report no relevant financial disclosures.