Blood flow restricted walking in patients suffering from intermittent claudication: a case series feasibility and safety study

Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2023 Apr 17;85(5):1430-1435. doi: 10.1097/MS9.0000000000000673. eCollection 2023 May.


To examine the feasibility and safety of blood flow restricted walking (BFR-W) in patients with intermittent claudication (IC). Moreover, to evaluate changes in objective performance-based and self-reported functioning following 12 weeks of BFR-W.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sixteen patients with IC were recruited from two departments of vascular surgery. The BFR-W programme implied the application of a pneumatic cuff around the proximal part of the affected limb at 60% limb occlusion pressure in five intervals of 2 min, four times per week for 12 weeks. Feasibility was evaluated by adherence and completion rates of the BFR-W programme. Safety was evaluated by adverse events, ankle-brachial index (ABI) at baseline and follow-up, and pain on a numerical rating scale (NRS pain) before and 2 min after training sessions. Furthermore, changes in performance between baseline and follow-up were evaluated with the 30 seconds sit-to-stand test (30STS), the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) and the IC questionnaire (ICQ).

RESULTS: Fifteen out of 16 patients completed the 12-week BFR-W programme and adherence was 92.8% (95% CI: 83.4; 100%). One adverse event unrelated to the intervention was reported causing one patient to terminate the programme 2 weeks prematurely. Mean NRS pain 2 min following BFR-W was 1.8 (95% CI [1.7-2]). ABI, 30STS, 6MWT and ICQ score were improved at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: BFR-W is feasible and appears to be safe in terms of completion rate, adherence to the training protocol, and adverse events in patients with IC. Further investigation of the effectiveness and safety of BFR-W compared to regular walking exercise is needed.

PMID:37229056 | PMC:PMC10205295 | DOI:10.1097/MS9.0000000000000673

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