Adherence and exercise mode in supervised exercise therapy for peripheral artery disease

Kristin M. Elgersma, Rebecca J.L. Brown, Dereck L. Salisbury, Laurissa Stigen, Lois Gildea, Kayla Larson, Erica N. Schorr, Laura N. Kirk, Diane Treat-Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Supervised exercise therapy (SET) is a first-line treatment for people with peripheral artery disease (PAD). However, data on patient adherence to SET are limited. In addition, while intermittent treadmill exercise has been widely tested, no studies have investigated recumbent total body stepping (step-ex). We examined whether exercise mode (treadmill walking [n = 17], step-ex [n = 18], or a multimodal approach [n = 18]) affected adherence to a 12-week SET program. We also investigated the potential safety and viability of step-ex for people with PAD by looking at change in exercise training capacity (highest metabolic equivalent of tasks [METs] achieved and highest total MET-minutes achieved per session). The 53 participants comprised 50% female candidates (n = 26) and were (mean [SD]) 74.2 (8.3) years old, with an ankle-brachial index of 0.70 (0.19). Overall adherence to SET was 62%. There was a difference in adherence between groups (P = .022), with the multimodal group (73.6% [21.5%]) higher than the treadmill group (50.2% [28.8%], P = .010). Treadmill participants (n [%]) (8 [47.1%]) dropped out at a higher rate than the multimodal group (3 [16.7%], P = .053). All groups increased the exercise training capacity. The multimodal group achieved greater improvement in total MET-minutes achieved per session (61.5 [45.1]) than the treadmill group (14.7 [44.3]) (P = .008).A multimodal approach to PAD exercise therapy resulted in higher adherence and greater change in exercise training capacity. Step-ex was safe for people with PAD. While further study is warranted, it is appropriate for SET programs to consider a multimodal approach using step-ex, especially given the varied health and physical ability of the PAD population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-117
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vascular Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The parent study for this research, the PAD PRAIRIE Initiative, was a 4-year outreach initiative funded by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. The PAD PRAIRIE Initiative was aimed at improving awareness, detection, and treatment of PAD in the rural Midwest. While the Initiative was predominantly focused on outreach, a research component measured pre/post outcomes of SET programs using a prospective, quasi-experimental, nonequivalent groups design. A nurse-led, university-based team partnered with 4 independent rural hospitals to develop, implement, and sustain PAD-focused SET programs. Each participating site had an existing cardiac rehabilitation program staffed by a designated nurse, physical therapist, or exercise physiologist, who acted as a site coordinator during the implementation of the PAD-focused SET program.

Funding Information:
Funding Sources: This work was supported by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation (CON number: CON000000052999, Sponsor Award Number ID#2976). The sponsors had no role in study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for Vascular Nursing


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