Treatment with lower extremity intermittent negative pressure (INP) of -40 mmHg for one hour twice daily for 12 weeks, increases walking capacity in patients with intermittent claudication (IC). However, the effects of INP treatment beyond 12 weeks have not been elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the clinical effects of INP treatment after 24 weeks in patients with IC.
This was a follow-up study after a randomized sham-controlled trial, where patients randomized to the active treatment group were offered to continue treatment for 12 additional weeks (24 weeks in total). Treatment with -40 mmHg INP was applied in a pressure chamber sealed around the lower leg, and the patients were instructed to treat themselves at home one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. Pain free walking distance (PWD), maximal walking distance (MWD), resting ankle-brachial index (ABI) and post exercise ABI were measured at baseline, after 12 and 24 weeks.
Ten out of 32 patients (31%) from the active treatment group in the initial trial were included in this follow-up study. At baseline, PWD was (mean ±SD) 151 ±91 m and MWD was 362 ±159 m. There was a significant increase in both PWD and MWD after 24 weeks of treatment, compared to baseline (ANOVA; p=0.006 and p=0.012, respectively). Post hoc tests revealed that PWD increased significantly from baseline to 12 weeks (mean 81 m; 95% CI [6, 156]; p=0.032), and that MWD increased significantly from 12 to 24 weeks (mean 145 m; 95% CI [22, 268]; p=0.018). There were no significant changes in resting ABI or post exercise ABI during the 24-week treatment period (ANOVA; p=0.157 and p=0.450, respectively).
Both PWD and MWD improved after treatment with – 40 mmHg INP for one hour twice daily for 24 weeks, compared to baseline. The main improvement in PWD occurred during the first 12 weeks of treatment, whereas the main improvement in MWD occurred between 12 and 24 weeks of treatment.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.