Focus on ability to perform functional tasks when designing interventions aimed at improving health-related quality of life for patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease (PAD), advise the authors of a study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery.
Clinical markers of disease severity and comorbidities are often the primary targets of interventions in PAD patients, but health-related quality of life (HRQoL) based on their functional capabilities matters more to patients, according to, of Penn State University, Hershey, and his colleagues.
“Interventions designed to improve HRQoL should focus on improving the quality of executing functional tasks, such as walking more steadily without stumbling; completing ADLs [activities of daily living] that are not specific to walking, such as bathing and transferring; and improving patient-based ability to walk various distances and speeds and to climb stairs,” the researchers wrote.
They studied 216 PAD patients (mean age, 65 years) with ambulatory leg pain confirmed by treadmill exercise and ankle brachial index less than or equal to 0.90 at rest or less than or equal to 0.73 after exercise. Patient HRQoL was measured using the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (). All patients performed a maximal treadmill test, a 6-minute walk test, and gait speed from a 4-meter walk test was measured. Their ambulatory activity was monitored for 7 days using a step monitor. In addition, patients self-assessed their ability to perform four lower-level ADLs, consisting of walking across a small room, bathing, transferring from a bed to a chair, and using the toilet. They also evaluated their ability to perform two higher-level ADLs consisting of walking up and down stairs to the second floor without help and walking a half-mile without help.
Approximately 10%-17% of the patients reported either having some difficulty with or being unable to perform basic ADLs, whereas the majority reported either having some difficulty with or being unable to perform higher-level ADLs consisting of walking up and down stairs (74%) and walking a half-mile without help (85%).
The primary novel finding, according to Dr. Gardner and his colleagues, was that patient-based measurements of physical function were the strongest predictors of both physical and mental subscales of HRQoL.
The significant predictors were Walking Impairment Questionnaire speed score (P less than .001), history of stumbling while walking (P less than .001), stair climbing score (P = .001), bathing (P = .001), 6-minute walking distance (P =.004), and daily walking cadence (P = .043). The significant predictors of the role limitations caused by emotional problems subscale of the SF-36 included a history of stumbling while walking (P less than .001), transferring from a bed to a chair (P less than .001), and the walking distance score (P = .022).
Noticeably, a history of stumbling while walking was considered particularly important to the patients. In contrast, objective measurements of physical function (6-minute walking distance and daily walking cadence) were predictive only of the physical function subscale. Comorbid conditions and objective measures of PAD severity, such as ankle brachial index, claudication onset time, and peak walking time, were not at all predictive of HRQoL, the researchers stated.
The authors reported that they had no conflicts of interest.
SOURCE: Gardner AW et al. .