Considering the feasibility, tolerability and safety of high-intensity interval training as a novel treatment for patients with intermittent claudication

Sean Pymer, Said Ibeggazene, Joanne Palmer, George Smith, Amy Harwood, University Hull, Lee Ingle, Ian Chetter

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    3 Citations (Scopus)
    9 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose: This study assessed the feasibility, tolerability, safety and potential efficacy of a novel, 6-week, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) programme for patients with intermittent claudication (IC).

    Methods: Patients referred to a usual-care supervised exercise programme were invited to undertake a HIIT programme. All recruited patients performed a baseline cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPX) to inform their exercise prescription.

    HIIT involved ten, one-minute high-intensity cycling intervals interspersed with one-minute recovery intervals, performed three times per week for six-weeks. Outcomes included feasibility, tolerability, safety, walking distance and quality of life.

    Results: 144 patients with IC were referred, 95 met initial eligibility criteria (66%) and 30 (32%) were recruited for HIIT, of which 15 (50%) completed. Of the recruited patients, 90% were on optimal medical therapy and 40% had concomitant cardiac, cerebrovascular and/or respiratory disease. Patients who completed the programme attended 100% of the sessions and one serious adverse event was recorded. Improvements in walking distances and quality of life were observed.

    Following recruitment of the first 20 patients, the inclusion criteria was refined on the basis of CPX, leading to improved completion rates.
    Conclusions: This study provides preliminary findings indicating that patients with IC can complete a short-term HIIT programme. We provide very early evidence that HIIT may be safe and well-tolerated. In addition, walking distances seem to improve following HIIT. After a small change in the exclusion criteria, the intervention and inclusion/exclusion criteria now seem appropriate for this population, meaning further research to evaluate HIIT in patients with IC is warranted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)188-193
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention
    Issue number3
    Early online date18 Nov 2020
    Publication statusPublished - May 2021

    Bibliographical note

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    • Exercise
    • HIIT
    • Peripheral arterial disease
    • Surgery

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
    • Rehabilitation
    • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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