Beyond the Patient’s Report: Self-Reported, Subjective, Objective and Estimated Walking Disability in Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease


Among patients with peripheral artery disease, an altered estimation of walking ability reported to the physician may influence the choice of treatment. We compared claudication distance (CD) values reported by patients or assessed by validated protocols to elaborate a formula capable of estimating more reliable values. Three hundred fifty-nine patients with claudication were measured at the time of entry into a rehabilitation program. Walking performance was obtained by patients’ reports (self-reported claudication distance, SR-CD) and was directly assessed to determine the claudication and maximal walking distance by the 6-min test (6-CD and 6-MWD) and an incremental treadmill test (T-CD and T-MWD). The degree of muscle deoxygenation was objectively determined at the calf by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) during the treadmill test. Among the 289 subjects analyzed, SR-CD exceeded both 6-CD and T-CD (+155 and +182 m, respectively). SR-CD was moderately correlated with T-CD (r = 0.30), 6-CD (r = 0.32), and 6-MWD (r = 0.29) but not with muscle deoxygenation per meter walked, unlike T-CD and 6-CD. A formula adjusted for the presence of diabetes reduced patient overestimation by 92%. The patient’s reported claudication distance was generally overestimated compared to objective measures, and it was made more reliable through a corrective factor for easy use in a clinical setting.