The aim of this study was to examine the effects of physical therapy (kinesitherapy and electrotherapeutic procedures) on the course of peripheral arterial occlusive disease by monitoring the changes in values of claudication distance and ankle-brachial indexes. Prospective randomized study included 47 patients with peripheral arterial occlusive disease manifested by intermittent claudications associated with ankle-brachial indexes values ranging from 0.5 to 0.9. Patients from the first group (25 pts) were treated with medicamentous therapy, walking exercises beyond the pain threshold, dynamic low-burden kinesi exercises and electrotherapeutic ageneses (interference therapy, diadynamic therapy, and electromagnetic field), while the second group of patients (22 pts) was treated with “conventional” non-operative treatment – medicamentous therapy and walking exercises. The values of newly established absolute claudication distance and ankle-brachial indexes were measured. Significant increase of absolute claudication distance in both groups of patients was registered, independently of therapeutic protocol applied (p < 0.001), in addition to the increase in the claudication distance interval in the physical therapy group. There wasn't any significant increase in ankle-brachial indexes values in both groups of patients.
Methods of physical therapy presented valuable supplement in non-operative treatment of peripheral arterial occlusive disease patients, improving their functional ability and thus delaying surgical treatment. However, further investigations including larger number of patients are necessary.