The purpose of this study was to implement and evaluate quality outcomes including referral, enrollment, and completion rates of a new peripheral artery disease (PAD)–specific supervised exercise therapy (SET) program within a preexisting clinical exercise wellness program and to evaluate the clinical effectiveness and patient-centered outcomes derived from 12 weeks of PAD-specific SET. Recruited participants completed an individualized, minimally supervised, PAD-specific SET program based on the AHA-ACC guidelines. Exercise workloads (metabolic equivalents of task [METs]) were tracked and evaluated throughout the program. Short Physical Performance Battery, 6-minute walk test (6MWT) Walking Impairment Questionnaire, Short-Form 36 (SF-36), and Peripheral Artery Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire (PADQOL) were assessed before and after the program. Paired t-tests were used to examine differences between baseline and follow-up outcome variables. On average, participants (n = 46) attended 23 (standard deviation [SD] 12.9) out of the possible 36 training sessions, for a 64% attendance rate. Among participants who used treadmill walking as the primary mode of exercise (n = 40), the overall mean MET level just prior to program completion was 3.79 (SD 1.49), which represented an increase of 0.92 (34%) METs compared to baseline (P <.001). Total distance on the 6MWT increased 115 (11%) feet (P =.011), which is considered a clinically meaningful improvement. Significant improvements were noted in the PADQOL: symptoms and limitations in physical functioning (P =.007). This study demonstrates that a minimally staffed PAD-specific SET program can improve functional performance in patients with claudication due to PAD and serves as a foundation to help build a clinically effective, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursed PAD-specific rehabilitation program.
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