(HealthDay News) – A six-month, home-based, group-mediated cognitive behavioral (GMCB) intervention is associated with lasting benefits for individuals with peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to a study published online May 21 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Mary M. McDermott, MD, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues compared a six-month GMCB intervention with a control group for participants with PAD. During months 1–6, group support and self-regulatory skills were used during weekly on-site meetings to help intervention group participants adhere to home-based exercise, while the control group received unrelated weekly on-site lectures. Each group received telephone contact during months 7–12.

The researchers found that from baseline to 12-month follow-up, participants randomized to the intervention increased their six-minute walk distance, compared with controls (mean difference, +34.1 m; P < 0.001). In addition, the Walking Impairment Questionnaire (WIQ) speed score was significantly improved in the intervention versus the control group (mean difference, +8.8; P=0.018). At 12-month follow-up, there was no significant difference in the change in WIQ distance score between the groups (P=0.139).

“A weekly on-site GMCB intervention that promoted home-based walking exercise intervention for people with PAD demonstrated continued benefit at 12-month follow-up, six months after the GMCB intervention was completed,” the authors write.

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