353 Walking Exercise In Patients With Intermittent Claudication

M.E.L. Bartelink, A.W. Hoes, Julius Centre for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Centre Utrecht
H.E.J.H. Stoffers, Department of General Practice, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Introduction/research question
In patients with intermittent claudication, walking exercise is effective in reducing pain and increasing maximum walking distance. However, data are lacking on the implementation of walking exercise in these patients. In this study, we explored current behaviour and views of patients with intermittent claudication towards walking exercise.
Methods 375 patients with intermittent claudication, selected from the files of general practitioners participating in two academic general practice networks (Utrecht and Maastricht University), were send a postal questionnaire; 216 were returned (58%). Nine of the respondents also attended a focus group meeting.
Results Seventy percent of the patients (151/216) reported having received walking advice. If specified, the advice given most often consisted of walking in the neighbourhood (56%, 84/151). Fifty-two percent (113/216) of all patients actually performed walking exercise, only a minority of them receiving some kind of supervision. Receiving advice was the most important determinant of walking. Among the barriers for performing walking exercise, 'co-morbidity', 'lack of (specific) advice' and 'lack of supervision' are often mentioned.
Among the stimuli to start and continue walking, 'following the doctor's advice', 'relief of complaints' and 'a better general condition' are often mentioned by patients.
Walking exercise is not performed by almost half of patients with intermittent claudication. Lack of specific advice and supervision are important barriers for performing walking exercise.