The purpose of this study was to determine whether peripheral arterial disease (PAD) subjects with a history of falling had more impaired physical function than their non-falling counterparts. A total of 120 PAD subjects (26%) who had fallen over the past year and 346 PAD subjects (74%) who had not fallen were evaluated. Additionally, subjects were characterized on physical function, consisting of balance, strength, ambulatory function, and monitored physical activity, as well as PAD-specific measures of ankle/brachial pressure index (ABPI) and treadmill claudication distances. Full-tandem stance time was 19% shorter (p < 0.001) in the fallers than in the non-fallers (7.2 ± 0.3 vs 8.9 ± 0.1 s; mean ± SEM), and the self-reported ability to climb stairs was 36% lower (27 ± 4 vs 42 ± 2%). Furthermore, the fallers were 126% more likely (p < 0.001) to report ambulatory stumbling and unsteadiness, took 14% longer (p = 0.022) to perform five sequential sit-to-stand transfers using an armless chair, covered 16% shorter distance (p < 0.001) during a 6-min walk test, and were 25% less physically active than the non-fallers. The groups had similar ABPI and treadmill claudication distances (p < 0.05). A history of falling was independently related to the self-reported ability to climb stairs, the full-tandem stance time, self-reported ambulatory stumbling and unsteadiness, and daily physical activity (multiple R = 0.47, p < 0.001). In conclusion, impairments in multiple domains of physical function were associated with a history of falling in PAD subjects with intermittent claudication. Furthermore, the link between poor physical function and falling was independent of PAD severity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine