Association between Physical Activity and Mortality in Patients with Claudication

Andrew W. Gardner, Odessa Addison, Leslie I. Katzel, Polly S. Montgomery, Steven J. Prior, Monica C. Serra, John D. Sorkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose This study aimed to determine the association between light-intensity physical activity and the incidence of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) limited by claudication followed for up to 18.7 yr. Methods A total of 528 patients with PAD and claudication were screened in Baltimore between 1994 and 2002, and 386 were deemed eligible for the study. At baseline, patients were classified into three physical activity groups: 1) physically sedentary, 2) light intensity, and 3) moderate to vigorous intensity based on a questionnaire. All-cause and cardiovascular mortality of patients through December 2014 was determined using the National Death Index and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense Suicide Data Repository. Results Median survival time was 9.9 yr (interquartile range, 4.9-15.7 yr; range, 0.38-18.7 yr). During follow-up, 257 patients (66.6%) died, consisting of 40/48 (83.3%) from the sedentary group, 135/210 (64.3%) from the light-intensity group, and 82/128 (64.0%) from the moderate- to vigorous-intensity group. For all-cause mortality, light-intensity activity status (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.523, P = 0.0007) and moderate- to vigorous-intensity status (HR = 0.425, P < 0.0001) were significant predictors. During follow-up, 125 patients died because of cardiovascular causes (32.4%), in which light-intensity activity status (HR = 0.511, P = 0.0113) and moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity status (HR = 0.341, P = 0.0003) were significant predictors. Conclusions Light-intensity physical activity is associated with nearly 50% lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in high-risk patients with PAD and claudication. Furthermore, moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity performed regularly is associated with 58% and 66% lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively. The survival benefits associated with light-intensity physical activity make it a compelling behavioral intervention that extends beyond improving ambulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)732-739
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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