The effects of Crenotherapy and exercise in peripheral arterial occlusive disease. A comparison with simple exercise training

Gennaro Quarto, Bruno Amato, Raffaele Serra, Giacomo Benassai, Maria G.Monti Andrea Salzano, Roberta D'Assante, Ermenegildo Furino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Conservative therapies for patients affected by Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease (PAOD) aim first to correct the risk factors and to slow down the disease progression. Among these, exercise has positive effects on blood flow, muscle metabolism and well demonstrated systemic effects. These include reduction of chronic inflammation markers, improvement of walking mechanics and heart function. Controlled physical training increases the ability to perform the daily activities improving life expectancy of these patients. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects and the effectiveness of physical training performed in thermal water compared to traditional treadmill walking exercise. Methods: 98 patients affected by lib stage PAOD, according to Leriche-Fontaine classification, were enrolled. Patients were randomized into two groups: the first arm carried out an intensive training program under medical supervision (group A); the second one carried out a rehabilitative exercise associated with crenotherapy (group B). The following parameters were detected: Ankle-Brachial pressure index (ABI), actual claudication distance (ACD), maximum walking distance (MWD), flow mediated dilatation (FMD) and the intima-media thickness (IMT). All patients underwent Doppler echocardiography and complete biochemical assay. RESULTS: In both groups, there was a statistically significant improvement of lipidaemia compared to baseline. When compared with each other, the two groups did not show statistically significant differences. There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding echocardiographic findings. Vascular reactivity study showed a statistically significant improvement of FMD after 3 months of exercise in both groups. In crenotherapy group (B) FMD values were significantly higher than the treadmill ones (A). In both groups a statistically significant improvement in ACD was observed Conclusions: Our experience shows that crenotherapy has similar effects compared to traditional physical training in the treatment of PAOD, being equally well tolerated and safe; it gives an advantage over conventional physical training in terms of ACD and MWD improvement, although not statistically significant, and it is extremely welcome to patients compared to traditional physical training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-477
Number of pages9
JournalAnnali Italiani di Chirurgia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Arterioscleroses
  • Intermittent claudicatio
  • Peripheral arterial diseasen
  • Physical exercise
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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