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Ahmed, KMT,Hernon, S,Mohamed, S,Tubassum, M,Newell, M,Walsh, SR
Ann Vasc Surg
Remote Ischemic Pre-conditioning in the Management of Intermittent Claudication: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
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Background: Animal data suggest that remote ischemic conditioning (RIC) can improve blood flow in ischemic limbs and, consequently, may benefit claudication patients. Supervised exercise is the preferred first-line intervention for patients with intermittent claudication (IC) but is constrained by limited availability and logistical issues, particularly in rural settings. The aim of this study is to evaluate remote ischemic pre-conditioning in the management of intermittent claudication patients.Methods: We undertook a randomized clinical trial to evaluate RIC's effect in claudication patients. Stable IC patients were randomly allocated to receive RIC alone, structured exercise (SE) alone, RIC plus SE, or to a control group which received standard advice and risk factor modification. Patients received their intervention over a 28-day period. RIC patients attended an RIC clinic every 3-4 days to undergo 4 cycles of 5-min upper limb ischemia followed by 5-min reperfusion induced with a standard blood pressure cuff.Results: Forty-five patients were randomized, of whom 40 completed the trial (10 patients per group). The RIC alone, SE alone, and RIC plus SE groups all demonstrated significant improvements in pain-free walking distance and ankle-brachial pressure indices at 30 days. There were no differences in the magnitude of improvements between the groups.Conclusions: Compared with standard care RIC is promising as a home-delivered intervention. It appears to be equivalent to SE in the treatment of IC, with no apparent additive benefit to combining the 2 interventions in this small size sample. Large-scale randomized controlled trial is needed for validation.
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