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Claudication is the most common manifestation of peripheral artery disease (PAD), producing significant ambulatory compromise. Limited information exists on the routine physical activity of claudicating patients. Our objective was to record the intensity/time profiles of physical activity and the timing and duration of sedentary behavior of a sample of community-dwelling claudicating patients.


Forty-four claudicating patients referred to our vascular clinic were recruited. Physical activity was recorded using the ActiGraph GT1M activity monitor. The Actigraph monitor is a lightweight instrument designed to measure human movement through changes in acceleration, measured as counts over 1-minute time periods. Data from 7 consecutive days were used for the calculations. We processed the data using the ActiLife software program.


The average daily activity of the claudicating patients shows a steady increase beginning approximately 05:30 AM until a peak plateau from approximately 10:00 AM to 01:30 PM followed by a steady decrease until approximately 09:30 PM, when a sustained period of inactivity begins. The average claudicating patient takes 3586 steps per day at an average intensity of 1.77 metabolic equivalents of task (METs, a physiological measure expressing the energy cost of physical activities). Average physical activity intensity and peak intensity fluctuate very little during the day, and they rarely exceed the level of light activity (light = <3 METs maximum effort, such as casual walking or light housework). During awake time, approximately 7 hours are spent in sedentary behaviors (<1.5 METs), and sedentary time is spread throughout the day mostly in short intervals between periods of low-energy activity.


Our study objectively demonstrates the reduced physical activity of claudicating patients and documents physical activity/duration profiles throughout the day. The intensity of the physical activity of the average claudicating patient fluctuates very little during the day and rarely exceeds a light intensity level. Claudicating patients spend approximately half of their awake time in sedentary behavior and when they walk they do it in short bursts followed by several minutes of rest. We anticipate that changes in routine physical activity/duration profiles of patients with PAD will provide relevant, sensitive, and direct measures of the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Elsevier in Annals of Vascular Surgery on August 13, 2018, available online:

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Annals of Vascular Surgery



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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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