This article reports an observational study investigating the safety and effectiveness of a high-intensity interval exercise program for patients with peripheral arterial disease. Patients were asked to walk on a treadmill to maximal claudication pain six times in each exercise session, with 3-minute rests in between. Once a patient could walk continuously for 6 minutes without reaching maximal pain, speed and/or grade was increased. To account for the changes in speed and grade, patients' walking ability was measured as a rehabilitation score, calculated as the product of the two. A total of 47 patients were included in the study. Results showed overall improvement in the rehabilitation score with participation in the program, and specifically showed that participation in more exercise sessions led to greater improvement. Moreover, no adverse events occurred in the study patients, suggesting patients with peripheral arterial disease can safely tolerate high-intensity exercise programs.
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