Walk it off

Peripheral arterial disease research study recruits patients

issue 23 | spring 2015

U-M cardiologist Elizabeth Jackson, M.D., is recruiting patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) to take part in a year-long study that will look at two different approaches to walking regimens.

"Previous research in the past several decades has shown that walking is the best treatment for PAD," says Jackson. "Many patients have difficulty adhering to walking programs because their disease causes pain in the lower limbs — at first. If we can encourage people to stop and rest when the pain begins, then resume their walking, over time the pain will lessen."

The study will compare participants assigned to two different groups: One group will walk in a structured program offered through a cardiac rehab facility, and the other group will walk following an Internet-based program. Those in the second group will have fitness monitors, such as a FitBit, and will be more self-directed.

They will also have access to online support from the study staff as well as other programs such as virtual walking groups.

Both groups will be closely examined for the first four months with follow up to occur eight months later in order to to gauge adherence to their walking regimen.