Authors: Simona Pătru1, Daniela Matei1, Adrian Bighea2, Rodica Trăistaru1, Diana Trașcă3
1 Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova,
2 Emergency County Clinical Hospital Craiova, Romania
3 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, Romania
Background. Globally, in recent years the best methods have been sought for physical treatment, medication, revascularization in order to slow down or stop the progression of peripheral artery disease. Current treatment, along with the patient selection criteria are clearly standardized through treatment guidelines based on the results of many clinical trials.
Aims. The aim of this prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial was to determine whether a rehabilitation program is more effective than usual care to improve ambulatory function in patients with peripheral arterial disease.
Methods. We randomized 111 patients into: the control group (which followed medication, hygienic and dietary recommendations), the exercise group, and the group with exercise and procedures. Patients were evaluated at baseline, after 12 weeks of rehabilitation and at the end of the study using the 6-minute walking distance.
Results. For both group 2 and group 3, the 6-minute walking distance values improved significantly as compared to control. We still registered after the first 12 weeks better values by 15% for the exercise group and by 18% for group 3. At the end of the study, the 6-minute walking distance values improved by 19% for the exercise group and by 22% for the group with exercises and procedures. No significant differences were found regarding the evolution of the 6-minute walking distance in females and males. The evolution of values under physical treatment is much less influenced by smoking.
Conclusions. Physical therapy is the object of more recent or older research through the great advantages it could offer in increased efficiency, low risks in relation to revascularization methods, high addressability, and lower costs.
Key words: peripheral arterial disease, exercises, procedures, walking distance.