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Circulation. 1994 Aug;90(2):818-22.

Intensive vascular training in stage IIb of peripheral arterial occlusive disease. The additive effects of intravenous prostaglandin E1 or intravenous pentoxifylline during training.

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  • 1University Hospital of Saarland, Germany.


In a randomized open study, the combination of either prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) or pentoxifylline with controlled vascular training was compared with vascular training alone in patients with peripheral arterial occlusive disease in stage IIb. Forty-four patients were randomly assigned to treatment either of intensive vascular training alone (n = 15) or in combination with either i.v. pentoxifylline (200 mg over 2 hours BID, n = 15) or PGE1 (40 micrograms over 2 hours BID, n = 14). The basic therapy was a well-defined routine for vascular training, which was identical for all groups. The duration of therapy was 4 weeks. In all three test groups, there was a significant increase in the walking distance. There was a 119% increase in symptom-free walking distance in the exercise-only group. In comparison with exercise alone, the additional administration of pentoxifylline produced no greater effect; the increase was 105%. In contrast, administration of PGE1 combined with exercise achieved a remarkable improvement of 604%. Between-group comparison revealed the significant superiority of treatment with PGE1 (P < .05). During the 1-year follow-up, there was a reduction in the walking performance in all groups, albeit of variable extent. In the exercise-only and the pentoxifylline groups, the maintained increase in walking distance was only 30% compared with baseline values before the beginning of therapy. In the PGE1 group, on the other hand, the maintained improvement was 149%. Nine of 14 patients were still in stage IIa of peripheral arterial occlusive disease 1 year after PGE1 therapy.

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