Supervised Exercise Therapy Using Mobile Health Technology in Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease : Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Background: Mobile health interventions are intended to support complex health care needs in chronic diseases digitally, but they are mainly targeted at general health improvement and neglect disease-specific requirements. Therefore, we designed TrackPAD, a smartphone app to support supervised exercise training in patients with peripheral arterial disease.

Objective: This pilot study aimed to evaluate changes in the 6-minute walking distance (meters) as a primary outcome measure. The secondary outcome measures included changes in physical activity and assessing the patients' peripheral arterial disease-related quality of life.

Methods: This was a pilot two-arm, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial. Patients with symptomatic PAD (Fontaine stage IIa/b) and access to smartphones were eligible. Eligible participants were randomly assigned to the study, with the control group stratified by the distance covered in the 6-minute walking test using the TENALEA software. Participants randomized to the intervention group received usual care and the mobile intervention (TrackPAD) for the follow-up period of 3 months, whereas participants randomized to the control group received routine care only. TrackPAD records the frequency and duration of training sessions and pain levels using manual user input. Clinical outcome data were collected at the baseline and after 3 months via validated tools (the 6-minute walk test and self-reported quality of life). The usability and quality of the app were determined using the Mobile Application Rating Scale user version.

Results: The intervention group (n=19) increased their mean 6-minute walking distance (83 meters, SD 72.2), while the control group (n=20) decreased their mean distance after 3 months of follow-up (-38.8 meters, SD 53.7; P=.01). The peripheral arterial disease-related quality of life increased significantly in terms of "symptom perception" and "limitations in physical functioning." Users' feedback showed increased motivation and a changed attitude toward performing supervised exercise training.

Conclusions: Besides the rating providing a valuable support tool for the user group, the mobile intervention TrackPAD was linked to a change in prognosis-relevant outcome measures combined with enhanced coping with the disease. The influence of mobile interventions on long-term prognosis must be evaluated in the future.



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