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n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - The effects of exercise training in patients with peripheral vascular disease - a review : review article
Patients with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) suffer from the symptom of intermittent claudication and are therefore intolerant to walking. Exercise training has been shown to be a beneficial treatment for patients with PVD. Therefore studies have aimed to assess the efficacy of exercise training programmes. This review summarises the data on the efficacy of exercise training programmes in patients with PVD. Recommendations are made for the mode, duration, frequency and intensity of exercise training programmes.
A systematic review of Medline, Pubmed and Science Direct was done of studies on exercise training and patients with PVD, particularly those using randomised controlled trials.
Exercise training improves walking tolerance in patients with PVD. The common mode of training in patients with PVD in the past decade has been walking on a treadmill; however recently an upper-limb cycle ergometry programme proved to be as effective as lower-limb cycle ergometry in improving walking tolerance in patients with PVD. As weight-bearing walking programmes are uncomfortable for patients with PVD, this is an important development in exercise prescription for these patients. Most successful exercise programmes have been 3-6 months in duration for a period of 30 minutes to 1 hour, 2-3 times per week. However, 1 study showed that a shorter period (6 weeks) was of sufficient duration to improve functional capacity in patients with PVD. This is helpful for practitioners as exercise programmes of 3 or 6 months can be daunting for a patient to embark on. Finally, patients should exercise to maximal claudication pain in order to elicit the best training response.
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