Comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program for peripheral arterial diseases

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J Cardiol. 2021 Nov 29:S0914-5087(21)00322-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jjcc.2021.11.011. Online ahead of print.


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a phenotype of atherosclerotic disease often associated with cerebrovascular or coronary artery disease. The incidence of cardiovascular events in patients with PAD is 5.4% per year, which is higher than that of cerebrovascular or coronary artery disease. The most useful screening method for PAD is the ankle brachial pressure index (ABI). The ABI should be measured in (1) all patients with lower limb symptoms such as claudication, (2) all patients aged 65 years and over, and (3) those aged 50 to 65 years who have risk factors such as smoking and diabetes mellitus. PAD is diagnosed if the ABI is <0.9. A comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program includes complete smoking cessation, blood pressure control with antihypertensive medications and salt reduction for hypertension, glycemic control for diabetes mellitus, and appropriate medications such as antiplatelet agents and statins. A multidisciplinary team approach is effective in comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation for patients with PAD, even those with critical limb ischemia (CLI). Exercise therapy is a crucial and essential treatment for PAD, except in CLI. Exercise therapy is contraindicated in patients with acute arterial occlusion and CLI with infection. PAD is often associated with other atherosclerotic diseases; the patient should be monitored for ischemic heart disease during the initial exercise stress test using the Gardner treadmill protocol. Supervised exercise therapy is highly recommended (Class I, Level of Evidence A). Alternatively, a home-based exercise program is feasible (Class IIa, Level of Evidence A). The exercise type (treadmill, track walking, ergometer), frequency (3 to 5 days per week), intensity (speed and incline), and duration (30 minutes) are determined based on the exercise stress test results for each patient. Exercise should be continued at least 3 times a week for at least 12 weeks. Cilostazol is highly recommended (Class I, Level of Evidence A).

PMID:34857431 | DOI:10.1016/j.jjcc.2021.11.011