Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

A review of the potential local mechanisms by which exercise improves functional outcomes in intermittent claudication

Harwood, Amy; Cayton, Thomas; Sarvanandan, Romesh; Lane, Risha; Chetter, Ian


Amy Harwood

Thomas Cayton

Romesh Sarvanandan

Risha Lane


© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Background Intermittent claudication (IC) is a common condition which is associated with significant quality of life limitation. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines recommend a group-based supervised exercise program as the primary treatment option for claudication, based on clinical and cost effectiveness. This review aims to assess the mechanisms by which exercise improves outcomes in patients with IC. Methods MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PubMed were searched using the search strategy "claudication" [AND] "exercise" [AND] "mechanisms." Searches were limited from 1947 to October 2014. Only full-text articles published in the English language in adults (over 18 years of age) were eligible for the review. Any trial involving a nonsupervised exercise program was excluded. Abstracts identified by the database search were interrogated for relevance and citations from the shortlisted papers were hand searched for relevant references. Results The search yielded a total of 112 studies, of which 42 were duplicates. Forty-seven of the remaining 70 were deemed appropriate for inclusion in the review. Exercise is the first-line treatment for IC. Supervised exercise programs improve walking distances, endothelial and mitochondrial function, muscle strength, and endurance. Furthermore, it leads to a generalized improvement in cardiovascular fitness and overall quality of life. Conclusions The mechanism by which exercise improves outcome in claudicants is complicated and multifactorial. Further research is required in this area to fully elucidate the precise and predominant mechanisms and to assess whether targeted exercise program modification maximizes mechanism efficacy and patient outcome.


Harwood, A., Cayton, T., Sarvanandan, R., Lane, R., & Chetter, I. (2016). A review of the potential local mechanisms by which exercise improves functional outcomes in intermittent claudication. Annals of vascular surgery, 30, 312-320.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 25, 2015
Online Publication Date Sep 9, 2015
Publication Date 2016-01
Deposit Date Nov 3, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Annals of vascular surgery
Print ISSN 0890-5096
Electronic ISSN 1615-5947
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Pages 312-320
Keywords Intermittent claudication
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Annals of vascular surgery, 2015, v.30


Article (543 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

You might also like

Downloadable Citations