Restoring blood flow to PAD patients’ legs shows promising benefits
In the research, PAD patients who did not have supervised exercise or any other intervention displayed increase muscle scarring.
The approaches used to restore blood flow in the leg included increasing the maximum distance the patients walked on a treadmill. This exercise therapy proved to be successful.
“Increasing blood flow to the leg with revascularization procedures halted the progression of scarring and allowed the patients to walk longer and further,” Duy Ha, lead author of the study, said. “This suggests that the long-term benefits to the health of leg muscles is better with revascularization than with exercise therapy alone. Unfortunately, not all patients are candidates for these procedures, which carry significant risks, and the treated vessels may get blocked again.”
PAD patients experience pain as well as fatigue when they walk due to poor blood circulation, which hinders arteries from pumping blood throughout the limbs. The research shows that levels of transforming growth factor-beta (TFG-?1) have a significant impact on muscle scarring.
“We hope that we can develop therapies that directly decrease TGF-?1 and its associated scarring in the leg muscles of PAD patients,” Ha said. “Such new treatments, when used alone or along with revascularization and exercise, may maintain or enhance the ability of our patients to walk and live healthy lives.”