(HealthDay News) – In patients with peripheral artery disease, a home-based, group-mediated cognitive behavioral walking intervention significantly improves walking endurance and physical activity, according to a study published in the July 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Mary M. McDermott, MD, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues randomly assigned 194 patients with peripheral artery disease to a home-based, group-mediated cognitive behavioral walking intervention or a health education control group. Of the participants, 72.2% did not have classic symptoms of intermittent claudication.

The researchers found that, compared with the control group, the intervention group had a significant increase in six-minute walk distance (mean difference, 53.5m), maximal treadmill walking time (mean difference, 1.01 minutes), accelerometer-measured physical activity over seven days (mean difference, 114.7 activity units), and Walking Impairment Questionnaire distance and speed scores (mean differences, 11.1 and 10.4, respectively).

“A home-based walking exercise program significantly improved walking endurance, physical activity, and patient-perceived walking endurance and speed in peripheral artery disease participants with and without classic claudication symptoms,” McDermott and colleagues conclude. “These findings have implications for the large number of patients with peripheral artery disease who are unable or unwilling to participate in supervised exercise programs.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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