Provision of exercise services in patients with peripheral artery disease in the United Kingdom

Amy E Harwood, Sean Pymer, Said Ibeggazene, Lee Ingle, Eddie Caldow, Stefan T Birkett

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    15 Citations (Scopus)
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    OBJECTIVES: Supervised exercise programmes (SEPs) are a vital treatment for people with intermittent claudication, leading improvements in walking distance and quality of life and are recommended in multiple national and international guidelines. We aimed to evaluate the use and structure of SEPs in the United Kingdom (UK).

    DESIGN: We conducted an anonymous online survey using the Jisc platform comprising of 40 questions. The survey was designed to address key areas such as access, provision, uptake and delivery of SEPs in the United Kingdom. Ethical approval was obtained from Coventry University (P108729).

    METHODS: The list of trusts providing vascular services was obtained from the National Vascular Registry (NVR) report. The survey was disseminated via social media, The Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the Society for Vascular Technology. Data were exported to a Microsoft Excel document and analysed using simple descriptive statistics.

    RESULTS: Of 93 vascular units identified, we received response from 48. Of these, 23 had access to an exercise programme (48%). The majority of SEPs were exclusively for PAD patients (77%), with 21% using integrated services. 67% of respondents were providing a circuit-based programme, and 5 out of 23 were meeting the dose recommendations in the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines. Respondents felt that programmes were moderately to extremely important to patients, slightly to very important to clinicians and not at all important to slightly important to commissioning/funding bodies.

    CONCLUSION: SEPs are a well-established first-line treatment for patients with IC and they are recommended by NICE guidelines. Despite this, many patients still do not have access to an exercise programme, and clinicians do not feel that they have support from commissioning/funding bodies to develop them. There is an urgent need for funding, development and delivery of SEPs in the United Kingdom.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)874-881
    Number of pages8
    Issue number5
    Early online date4 Aug 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

    Bibliographical note

    This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( 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 page (


    • Peripheral artery disease
    • best practice
    • intermittent claudication
    • survey

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery
    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
    • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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