The Effects of Physical Training and Flunarizine on Walking Capacity in Intermittent Claudication
M Lepäntalo, S Sundberg, A Gordin
The clinical significance of drugs improving red cell deformability is not confirmed. We established the effect of physical training alone and combined with flunarizine on intermittent claudication. Twelve patients aged 48-73 years were included in the study. Pain-free walking distance on treadmill, ankle/arm pressure ratio and transcutaneous oxygen tension were measured. Walking distance increased significantly (p less than 0.05) by 130% from 75 m to 173 m during the first year when the patients were on programmed physical training. Ankle/arm pressure ratio also increased significantly (p less than 0.05) from 0.46 to 0.55 during this period. The increase in walking distance ceased when the programmed physical training was discontinued for 6 months. During the following double-blind, cross-over medication period the patients were given flunarizine 5 mg b.i.d. and placebos in randomized order for 3 months each. They also continued the same programmed physical training as during the first year. Walking distance increased, albeit not significantly, with time to 392 m after the second medication period. There was no difference, however, between flunarizine and placebo. Ankle/arm pressure ratio was of the same magnitude as at the beginning of the trial. Oxygen tension measurements did not give consistent results. We conclude that programmed physical training increased walking distance as a function of time. Flunarizine had no effect on the performance of patients with intermittent claudication.
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