First-line therapy for diabetic patients presenting with intermittent claudication includes supervised exercise programs to improve walking distance. However, exercise comes with a variety of barriers and may be contraindicated in certain conditions. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether calf muscle electrostimulation improves claudication distance.
A prospective, one-group, pretest-posttest study design was used on 40 participants living with type 2 diabetes mellitus, peripheral artery disease (ankle brachial pressure index, <0.90), and calf muscle claudication. Calf muscle electrostimulation of varying frequencies (1–250 Hz) was prescribed on both limbs for 1-hour daily sessions for 12 consecutive weeks. The absolute claudication distance (ACD) was measured at baseline and after the intervention.
The recruited cohort (30 men and ten women; mean age, 71 years; mean ankle brachial pressure index, 0.70) registered a mean ± SD baseline ACD of 333.71 ± 208 m. After a mean ± SD of 91.68 ± 6.23 days of electrical stimulation, a significant mean ± SD increase of 137 ± 136 m in the ACD (P = .001, Wilcoxon signed rank test) was registered. Improvement was found to be sex independent, but age was negatively correlated with proportion of improvement (r = –0.361; P = .011, Pearson correlation test).
Electrical stimulation of varying frequencies on ischemic calf muscles significantly increased the maximal walking capacity in claudicants with type 2 diabetes. This therapeutic approach should be considered in patients with impaired exercise tolerance or as an adjunct treatment modality.
Spectral Doppler ultrasound examination of pedal arteries is one of the most frequently used noninvasive assessment methods by health-care professionals for the diagnosis and ongoing monitoring of people at risk for or living with peripheral arterial disease. The aim of this study was to determine the interrater reliability of the interpretation of spectral Doppler waveform analysis.
An interrater reliability study was conducted among five experienced podiatric physicians at the University of Malta Research Laboratory (Msida, Malta). A researcher who was not a rater in this study randomly selected 229 printed spectral Doppler waveforms from a database held at the University of Malta. Each rater independently rated the qualitative spectral waveforms.
Interrater reliability of the spectral Doppler waveform interpretation was excellent among the five experienced podiatric physicians (α = 0.98). The intraclass correlation coefficient showed a high degree of correlation in waveform interpretation across raters (P < .001).
This study demonstrates high interrater reliability in visual spectral Doppler interpretation among experienced clinicians. The current foot screening guidelines do not refer to spectral Doppler waveform analysis in their recommendations, which has been shown in studies to be an important modality for the diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease when ankle-brachial pressure indexes are falsely elevated in calcified arteries. If interpreted correctly, the information obtained can provide an indication of the presence of peripheral arterial disease and facilitate early management of this condition.