Relative tolerance to upper- and lower-limb aerobic exercise in patients with peripheral arterial disease

Irena Zwierska, Richard D. Walker, Sohail Choksy, Jonathan Male, Alan Pockley, John Saxton

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives - To investigate the effects of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) on relative tolerance to upper- and lower-limb aerobic exercise. Methods - Peak cardiorespiratory responses evoked by an incremental arm-cranking test (ACT) and an incremental leg-cranking test (LCT) were compared in patients with PAD (N=101; median age 69 year, range 50-85 years). Claudication distance (CD) and total distance before intolerable claudication pain (maximum walking distance: MWD) were also assessed during walking. Results - Peak oxygen consumption (V O(2)) for the ACT was 94% of that measured for the LCT (1.01+/-0.03 versus 1.10+/-0.03lmin(-1), respectively; P<0.001), but in a significant proportion of patients (35%; P<0.001), exceeded that recorded for the LCT. The ratio of upper- to lower-limb peak V O(2) was higher (0.98+/-0.04 compared to 0.98+/-0.05lmin(-1) and 1.00+/-0.06 compared to 1.21+/-0.06lmin(-1); P<0.01), whereas walking performance (CD: 94+/-14 versus 187+/-25 m, P<0.01; MWD: 227+/-20 versus 394+/-33 m, P<0.01) was lower for patients in the lowest ankle to brachial pressure index quartile compared to patients in the highest quartile, respectively. Conclusion - Upper-limb aerobic conditioning could be a useful exercise stimulus for maintaining or improving cardiorespiratory function in patients with severe PAD as they have a greater relative upper-limb aerobic power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-63
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number2
Early online date10 Aug 2005
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


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