Arterial dysfunction and functional performance in patients with peripheral artery disease: A review

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33 Scopus citations


Functional performance influences quality of life in individuals with peripheral artery disease (PAD) and is also a powerful prognostic marker in these patients. The pathophysiology of impaired functional performance in patients with PAD is incompletely understood. The severity of atherosclerotic burden, non-invasively assessed by the ankle-brachial index (ABI), does not reliably predict the degree of functional impairment observed in PAD patients. We review associations of measures of arterial function (arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction) with functional performance in PAD patients, and also review potential therapies for arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction that could improve functional performance in PAD. Recent studies suggest that measures of arterial function, such as arterial stiffness and endothelial function, are associated with exercise performance in the setting of PAD. These studies have provided new insights into (1) the pathophysiology of functional impairment in PAD, (2) mechanisms of strategies known to be effective such as walking programs, and (3) potential new therapeutic interventions for improving functional performance. Thus, therapies aimed at arterial 'de-stiffening' and improving endothelial function (such as aerobic exercise, statins and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) may improve functional performance in patients with PAD; however, further investigations are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-211
Number of pages9
JournalVascular Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • arterial stiffness
  • endothelial dysfunction
  • exercise
  • functional performance
  • peripheral artery disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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