Supervised exercise training in patients with lower extremity peripheral artery disease: A European overview

Stefano Lanzi, Jill Belch, Marianne Brodmann, Juraj Madaric, Alessandra Bura-Riviere, Adriana Visonà, Lucia Mazzolai (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    79 Downloads (Pure)


    The optimal first line management of patients with symptomatic chronic lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD) includes secondary prevention of cardiovascular risk factors, pharmacological treatment, and supervised exercise therapy (SET). SET programs have shown to be effective in improving walking performance, functional performance, and quality of life. However, despite a large body of evidence, and despite national and international guidelines recommending SET as first line therapy, SET remains largely underused in patients with chronic PAD. This position paper aims to describe how SET is perceived, its accessibility and structure through Europe. An anonymous web-based survey was used. It comprised 21 questions developed in conjunction with an angiologist and a clinical exercise physiologist specialist in vascular rehabilitation. We had 131 responders from 17 countries. For patients with PAD, SET programs exist only in 59% of European countries. SET reimbursement is available in 41% of countries. SET programs showed to be heterogeneous across countries. Thirty-four percent of the SET programs are PAD-dedicated, while 23% are part of a cardiac rehabilitation program. In addition, among existing SET programs, 65% are dedicated to symptomatic patients with PAD only, 9% to both asymptomatic and symptomatic, 8% to post-revascularized patients only, and 1% to asymptomatic patients with PAD only. Finally, 17% reported not knowing which patients are eligible for enrolment in a SET program. Duration, frequency, and modality of SET also varied from country to country. Overall, these data indicate that a large variability of SET availability and characteristics exists across Europe. Therefore, there is an urgent need to provide detailed guidance to deliver optimal exercise therapeutic care in patients with PAD.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)267-274
    Number of pages8
    Issue number5
    Early online date5 Sept 2022
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


    • Exercise Therapy
    • Humans
    • Lower Extremity/blood supply
    • Peripheral Arterial Disease/diagnosis
    • Quality of Life
    • Walking
    • vascular medicine
    • Rehabilitation
    • intermittent claudication

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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