Functional impairment in peripheral artery disease and how to improve it in 2013

Mary Mc Grae McDermott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects 8 million men and women in the United States and will be increasingly common as the U.S. population lives longer with chronic disease. People with PAD have poorer walking endurance, slower walking velocity, and poorer balance, compared with individuals without PAD. People with PAD may reduce their walking activity to avoid leg symptoms. Thus, clinicians should not equate stabilization or improvement in exertional leg symptoms with stabilization or improvement in walking performance in PAD. In addition, even asymptomatic PAD patients have greater functional impairment and faster functional decline than individuals without PAD. Of the 2 FDA-approved medications for treating claudication symptoms, pentoxifylline may not be more efficacious than placebo, whereas cilostazol confers a modest improvement in treadmill walking performance. Supervised treadmill walking exercise is associated with substantial improvement in walking endurance, but many PAD patients do not have access to supervised exercise programs. Unsupervised walking exercise programs may be beneficial in PAD, but data are mixed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number347
JournalCurrent Cardiology Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Exercise rehabilitation
  • Intermittent claudication
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Physical functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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