Supervised vs unsupervised exercise for intermittent claudication: A systematic review and meta-analysis
© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Background Supervised exercise (SE) is widely accepted as an effective therapy for intermittent claudication (IC), but its use is limited by cost. Unsupervised exercise (UE) represents a less costly alternative. We assessed the comparative effectiveness of SE vs UE in patients with IC. Methods and Results We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and identified 27 unique studies (24 randomized controlled trials, 4 observational studies) that evaluated the comparative effectiveness of SE vs UE in 2074 patients with IC. Compared with UE, SE was associated with a moderate improvement in maximal walking distance at 6 months (effect size 0.77, 95% CI 0.36-1.17, P <.001) and 12 months (effect size 0.56, 95% CI 0.34-0.77, P <.001). Supervised exercise also improved claudication distance to a moderate extent compared with UE at 6 months (effect size 0.63, 95% CI 0.40-0.85, P <.001) and 12 months (effect size 0.41, 95% CI 0.18-0.65, P =.001). There was no difference in the Short Form-36 quality of life at 6 months (effect size -0.05, 95% CI -0.50 to 0.41, P =.84) or walking impairment questionnaire distance (effect size 0.24, 95% CI -0.03 to 0.50, P =.08) or speed (effect size 0.26, 95% CI -0.06 to 0.59, P =.11). Conclusions In claudication patients, SE is more effective than UE at improving maximal walking and claudication distances, yet there is no difference in general quality of life or patient-reported community-based walking. Further studies are needed to investigate the relationship between functional gain and disease-specific quality of life.
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