Exercise rehabilitation for peripheral artery disease

Mary M. McDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Purpose: To summarize evidence regarding exercise therapy for people with lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD). Methods: Literature was reviewed regarding optimal strategies for delivering exercise interventions for people with PAD. Randomized trial evidence and recent studies were emphasized. Results: Randomized clinical trial evidence consistently demonstrates that supervised treadmill exercise improves treadmill walking performance in people with PAD. A meta-analysis of 25 randomized trials (1054 participants) concluded that supervised treadmill exercise was associated with 180 m of improvement in maximal treadmill walking distance and 128 m of improvement in pain-free walking distance compared with a control group. Three randomized trials of 493 patients with PAD demonstrated that home-based walking exercise interventions that incorporate behavioral change techniques improve walking ability in patients with PAD. Furthermore, evidence suggests that home-based walking exercise improves the 6-min walk more than supervised treadmill exercise. Upper and lower extremity ergometry also significantly improved walking endurance in PAD. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently determined that Medicare would cover 12 wk (36 sessions) of supervised treadmill exercise for patients with PAD. Conclusions: Supervised treadmill exercise and home-based walking exercise each improve walking ability in patients with PAD. The availability of insurance coverage for supervised treadmill exercise for patients with PAD will make supervised treadmill exercise more widely available and accessible. Home-based exercise that incorporates behavioral change technique is an effective alternative for patients unwilling or unable to attend 3 supervised exercise sessions per week.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • Functional performance
  • Home-based exercise
  • Intermittent claudication
  • Peripheral artery disease


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