This study clearly depicts that Among people with lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD), little is known about variation in response to supervised exercise therapy (SET). Clinical characteristics associated with greater responsiveness to SET have not been identified.

Data from participants with PAD in two randomized clinical trials comparing SET vs nonexercising control were combined. The exercise intervention consisted of three times weekly supervised treadmill exercise. The control groups received lectures on health-related topics. In the 95 (62.1%) participants who attended at least 70% of SET sessions, change in 6-minute walk distance varied from −149.4 to +356.0 meters. Thirty-four (35.8%) had no 6-minute walk distance improvement. Among all participants, age, sex, race, body mass index, prior lower extremity revascularization, and other clinical characteristics did not affect the degree of improvement in 6-minute walk distance after SET relative to the control group. Among people with PAD, substantial variability exists in walking improvement after SET. Shorter 6-minute walk distance at baseline was associated with greater improvement after SET.

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