Because handrail support reduces the energy cost of treadmill walking, claudication and hemodynamic responses of patients with peripheral vascular occlusive disease should also be affected. Furthermore, the reliability of the test results may be reduced unless the same pressure is applied to the handrails over repeated tests. The effect of handrail support on claudication and hemodynamic responses, and on their reliability, were examined during single-stage (2 mph, 12% grade) and progressive (2 mph, 0% grade with 2% increase every 2 minutes) treadmill protocols. Ten patients with stable disease performed both protocols 3 times, separated by 1 week, with and without handrail support. Claudication pain distance and maximal walking distance were greater (p < 0.05) when handrail support was permitted, and they increased (p < 0.05) over repeated tests of each protocol. No increase was noted over the tests without support. The responses and reliability of foot transcutaneous oxygen tension, ankle systolic pressure and ankle/brachial systolic pressure index after exercise to maximal tolerable pain were not affected by handrail support. Because claudication distances were altered, it is concluded that handrail support should not be allowed when assessing claudicants, unless balance cannot otherwise be maintained.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine