RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
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Limb hemodynamics are not predictive of functional capacity in patients with PAD.

Vascular Medicine 2006 November
To the practicing clinician, it seems obvious that limb hemodynamics would be the primary determinant of walking distance. However, other determinants, such as skeletal muscle metabolism, may play a role. Accordingly, in the current study, we examined the relationship between measures of limb hemodynamics and walking capacity in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). We measured toe and ankle pressures for calculation of toe- (TBI) and ankle (ABI)-brachial indices; basal and hyperemic calf blood flow (CBF; by plethysmography); and initial (ICT) and absolute (ACT) claudication time using the Skinner-Gardner protocol. As expected, PAD patients had impaired limb hemodynamics with reduced TBI, ABI and a reduction in ABI post-exercise. However, there was no relationship between any of the hemodynamic variables (including ABI, ABI reduction post-exercise, TBI, baseline or maximal CBF) and walking distance as assessed by ICT or ACT. A subset of PAD patients with an ACT >750s (n = 16; 'long claudicators') were compared with a subset of PAD patients with an ACT <260s (n = 16; 'short claudicators'). The average ACT in the long claudicants was over fivefold greater than the short claudicators. Surprisingly, there were no differences between the two groups in any of the hemodynamic variables. There was also no relationship between the initial ABI, TBI, toe pressure, baseline or hyperemic CBF, and the improvement in ACT over the 3-month course of the study. This study found little relationship between hemodynamic variables and functional capacity in PAD. Accordingly, to assess the response to therapeutic interventions, exercise performance and functional status need to be directly measured, and cannot be predicted from hemodynamic measurements.

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