Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether calf muscle hemoglobin oxygen saturation (StO2) obtained during a standardized treadmill test is associated with ambulatory function and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with symptomatic peripheral artery disease (PAD). We hypothesized that a rapid decline in calf muscle StO2 during walking is associated with impaired ambulatory function and HRQoL and that these associations are independent of ankle-brachial index (ABI). Methods: Calf muscle StO2, peak walking time, and claudication onset time were obtained during a treadmill test in 151 symptomatic men and women with PAD. Patients were further characterized by demographic variables, comorbid conditions, cardiovascular risk factors, ABI, 6-minute walk distance, daily ambulatory activity, Walking Impairment Questionnaire (WIQ) score, and Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey physical function score to assess HRQoL. Results: The median calf muscle StO2 value at rest was 52%, which declined to 22% after only 1 minute of walking during the treadmill test and reached a minimum value of 9% after a median time of 87 seconds of walking. Of the various calf muscle StO2 measurements obtained during the treadmill test, the exercise time to the minimum calf muscle StO2 value (log transformed) had the strongest univariate associations with peak walking time (r = 0.56; P <.001), claudication onset time (r = 0.49; P <.001), 6-minute walk distance (r = 0.31; P <.001), WIQ distance score (r = 0.33; P <.001), WIQ speed score (r = 0.39; P <.001), WIQ stair-climbing score (r = 0.37; P <.001), and Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey physical function score (r = 0.32; P <.001). In adjusted multiple regression models, these associations persisted (P <.001) after adjustment for demographic measures, cardiovascular risk factors, comorbid conditions, and ABI. Conclusions: More rapid decline in oxygen saturation of the calf musculature during walking, indicative of impaired microcirculation, is predictive of impaired ambulatory function and HRQoL in patients with symptomatic PAD. Of particular importance, these associations are independent of ABI and other common health burdens, highlighting the clinical relevance that the microcirculation has on ambulatory function and HRQoL in patients with symptomatic PAD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine