Low-intensity resistance exercise with blood flow restriction for patients with claudication: A randomized controlled feasibility trial

Thomas Parkington, David Broom, Thomas Maden-Wilkinson, Shah Nawaz , Markos Klonizakis

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Abstract

Background:  Claudication  is  a  common  and  debilitating  symptom  of  peripheral  artery  disease,  resulting  in  poor  exercise performance and quality of life (QoL). Supervised exercise programs are an effective rehabilitation for patients with claudication, but they are poorly adhered to, in part due to the high pain and effort associated with walking, aerobic, and resistance exercise. Low-intensity resistance exercise with blood flow restriction (BFR) represents an alternative exercise method for individuals who are intolerant to high-intensity protocols. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a supervised BFR program in patients with claudication. Methods: Thirty patients with stable claudication completed an 8-week supervised exercise program and were randomized to either BFR (n= 15) or a control of matched exercise without BFR (control; n= 15). Feasibility, safety, and efficacy were assessed. Results: All success criteria of the feasibility trial were met. Exercise adherence was high (BFR = 78.3%, control = 83.8%), loss to follow up was 10%, and there were no adverse events. Clinical improvement in walking was achieved in 86% of patients in the BFR group but in only 46% of patients in the control group. Time to claudication pain during walking increased by 35% for BFR but was unchanged for the control. QoL for the BFR group showed improved mobility, ability to do usual activities, pain, depression, and overall health at follow up. Conclusion: A supervised blood flow restriction program is feasible in patients with claudication and has the potential to increase exercise performance, reduce pain, and improve QoL. (Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT04890275)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-563
Number of pages10
JournalVascular Medicine
Volume28
Issue number6
Early online date11 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

Keywords

  • exercise performance
  • strength training
  • rehabilitation
  • peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • quality of life

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