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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2004 Jan;27(1):17-23.

Does supervised exercise offer adjuvant benefit over exercise advice alone for the treatment of intermittent claudication? A randomised trial.

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Department of Vascular Surgery, Imperial College School of Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK.



Exercise advice is the main treatment for symptom relief in the UK for patients with mild to moderate Intermittent Claudication (IC). Would a weekly exercise and motivation class for 6 months offer adjuvant benefit over written and verbal exercise advice alone?


Fifty-nine patients attending a regional vascular centre for whom IC was the main factor affecting mobility were randomised to either exercise advice alone (n=30) or exercise advice with a once a week 45 min supervised exercise/motivation class (n=29). The mean age was 68 years. Baseline and 6-month assessment included a Quality of Life Questionnaire--the Short-Form-36, the Charing Cross Symptom Specific Claudication Questionnaire (CCCQ) and treadmill walking distance (3.5 km/h 12%).


At 6-month follow-up the supervised exercise group had improved their treadmill walking by 129% compared to 69% in the advice alone group (p=0.001). This significant improvement was maintained at the subsequent 9 and 12-month follow-up assessments. By the 9-month stage the advice only group CCCQ score had improved 16% from baseline, while the supervised exercise group had a significantly better 43% improvement in base line score (p<0.05). Self reported frequency of walks was higher in the exercise class group being significant for improvement in CCCQ score.


A weekly, supervised exercise and motivation class for a 6-month period provides a significant improvement in patients' symptoms, quality of life, and distance walked compared with advice alone and this improvement continues after attendance at class has ceased.

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