Background: The aim of this updated review is to consider the evidence base for the effectiveness of home-based exercise programmes as a treatment option for improving walking distance in patients with intermittent claudication.
Methods: The Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, PEDro and Cochrane CENTRAL databases will be searched for terms including 'intermittent claudication', 'peripheral arterial disease', 'home-based exercise' and 'home-based walking'. No date restrictions will be used but only articles in the English language will be included. Both randomised and non-randomised trials of home-based exercise programmes versus a comparator arm will be included, and a meta-analysis using only the randomised controlled trials will be attempted if the assumptions of heterogeneity are met. Data extraction will include study details, sample description, intervention description, length of follow-up and outcomes measures. The primary outcome measure is objectively measured maximal walking distance or time, with secondary outcome measures including pain-free walking distance or time, changes in physical activity and quality of life. We will also provide a narrative description of the effective components of a home-based exercise intervention which can aid future recommendations.
Conclusion: Overall, this proposed review and meta-analysis aims provide a comprehensive and complete overview of the evidence base for home-based exercise programmes, which can aid clinicians in the management of their patients.