Safety of home-based exercise for people with intermittent claudication: A systematic review

Seed, Sally and Birkett, Stefan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0422-6843 (2022) Safety of home-based exercise for people with intermittent claudication: A systematic review. Vascular Medicine, 27 (2). pp. 186-192. ISSN 1358-863X

[thumbnail of Version of Record]
PDF (Version of Record) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Official URL:


Intermittent claudication (IC) is a classic symptom of peripheral artery disease, with first line treatment being supervised exercise therapy (SET). Despite this, SET is frequently underutilised, and adherence is often poor. An alternative option are home-based exercise programmes (HBEP). Although HBEPs are well tolerated, to the authors’ knowledge, no research has assessed their safety. The aim of this review was to assess the safety of HBEPs in people living with IC. We performed an electronic search of the MEDLINE, CINHAL and Cochrane Library databases. The main parameter of interest was complication rate, calculated as the number of related adverse events per patient-hours. Sub-analysis was undertaken to determine differences in safety for studies that did and did not include pre-exercise cardiac screening, and for studies with exercise at low, moderate and high levels of claudication pain. Our search strategy identified 8693 results, of which 27 studies were included for full review. Studies included 1642 participants completing 147,810 patient-hours of home-based exercise. Four related adverse events were reported, three of which were cardiac in origin, giving an all cause complication rate of one event per 36,953 patient-hours. Three of these events occurred following exercise to high levels of claudication pain, and one occurred with pain-free exercise. All four events occurred in studies without cardiac screening. Based on the low number of related adverse events, HBEPs appear to be a safe method of exercise prescription for people with IC. Our results strengthen the rationale for providing alternative exercise options for this population. PROSPERO registration: CRD42021254581

Repository Staff Only: item control page