Research Article

Standard exercise test to assess peripheral arterial disease.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 05 January 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:13
  1. S P Laing,
  2. R M Greenhalgh


    The fall in ankle systolic pressure after exercise serves as an objective indicator of the severity of haemodynamically important peripheral arterial disease. Twenty-six patients were studied to establish the effects of different work loads on the pressure response and to develop a test to standardise these effects. The patients walked for one or two minutes at 4 km/h and one or two minutes at 6 km/h, and the fall in pressure was the same when measured immediately after exercise. The time taken for the pressure to return to the pre-exercise value varied. As the fall in pressure occurs after only one minute of exercise at 4 km/h on a 10% slope, this might be adopted as a standard test. It is acceptable to the patient, since claudication, angina, and shortness of breath rarely occur. It is sensitive enough to detect mild or asymptomatic disease and is useful in following up patients.