Exercise therapy in routine management of peripheral arterial disease and intermittent claudication: a scoping review

Ukachukwu Abaraogu, Onyinyechukwu Duru, Philippa Dall, Garry Tew, Wesley Stuart, Julie Brittenden, Chris Seenan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Little is known about the extent to which routine care management of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and intermittent claudication (IC) align with best practice recommendations on exercise therapy. We conducted a scoping review to examine the published literature on the availability and workings of exercise therapy in the routine management of patients with PAD and IC, and the attitude and practice of health professionals and patients.
Methods: A systematic search was conducted in February 2018. The Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Ovid MEDLINE, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, ScienceDirect, Web of Science and the Directory of Open Access Repositories were searched. Hand searching of reference lists of identified studies was also performed. Inclusion criteria were based on study aim, and included studies that reported on the perceptions, practices, and workings of routine exercise programs for patients with IC, their availability, access, and perceived barriers.
Results: Eight studies met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review. Studies conducted within Europe were included. Findings indicated that vascular surgeons in parts of Europe generally recognize supervised exercise therapy as a best practice treatment for IC, but do not often refer their patients for supervised exercise therapy due to the unavailability of, or lack of access to supervised exercise therapy programs. Available supervised exercise therapy programs do not implement best practice recommendations, and in the majority, patients only undergo one session per week. Some challenges were cited as the cause of the suboptimal program implementation. These included issues related to patients’ engagement and adherence as well as resource constraints.
Conclusion: There is a dearth of published research on exercise therapy in the routine management of PAD and IC. Available data from a few countries within Europe indicated that supervised exercise is underutilized despite health professionals recognizing the benefits. Research is needed to understand how to improve the availability, access, uptake, and adherence to the best exercise recommendations in the routine management of people with PAD and IC.
Original languageEnglish
Article number175394472092427
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease
Early online date27 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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