A program of supervised exercise for 30 minutes, twice a week, was as effective as endovascular revascularization( passing a catheter balloon through the vessel to improve blood flow) in terms of functional outcomes and quality of life in patients with intermittent claudication, according to a randomized controlled study reported at the In addition, the improvement seen with both interventions was sustained out to seven years
In his trial, 150 patients with intermittent claudication were randomized to either supervised exercise therapy(SET), which involved walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes twice a week (n=75), or endovascular revascularization (n=75). Baseline characteristics of the patients were similar, he noted. Patients in both groups were advised to walk at home as much as possible.
Dr Farzin Fakhry, one of the authors of this paper said that “ the one- and seven-year results indicate that SET and endovascular revascularization were equally effective in improving functional performance and quality of life,". The study had 36 patients in the exercise group and 47 in the revascularization group who were available for the longer follow-up of seven years, he noted.
The number of patients with one or more secondary interventions was higher in the SET group (32 patients underwent at least one secondary intervention compared with 17 in the endovascular-revascularization group; p=0.01), although the average number of secondary interventions did not differ between the groups (2.0 in the SET group vs 2.8 in the revascularization group [p=0.10]). Two patients in the exercise group underwent minor amputation, and three in the revascularization group had a major amputation.
"The study supports the use of a SET-first treatment regimen in the care of patients with intermittent claudication," Fakhry concluded.
Exercise as Good as Revascularization in PAD. Medscape. Nov 12, 2012.