Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a common vascular disease which is characterised by pain and exercise intolerance, termed Intermittent Claudication (IC), due to reduction in blood flow to skeletal muscles in the lower limbs. Patients with PAD and IC have impaired quality of life due to reduced physical capacity. Furthermore, due to the diffuse nature of atherosclerosis and commonly associated comorbidities including diabetes, they have 3-4 times increased mortality compared to age and sex matched controls.
Improving daily physical activity (PA) is particularly important in individuals with IC as lower PA levels have been recognised as a strong predictor of increased morbidity and mortality in this population. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends a supervised exercise therapy (SET) programme as the first line of treatment, but access, uptake, and adherence to programmes is very low in the UK NHS. Promising, novel patient education, and pain management interventions are currently being tested by the Aging Well Research Group at GCU and one of the next steps is to explore, with essential input from service users using co-production methods, how these can be integrated alongside best-practice exercise interventions for potential benefit to this patient population.
Aims The current PhD project will co-produce and test a complex intervention that incorporates exercise, patient education and pain management in patients with PAD and IC.
The student will help design research that develops the complex intervention and then explores the effects on free-living physical activity and quality of life.
Relevance and importance of this research: If the intervention developed through this PhD is found to be feasible, acceptable and effective for patients with PAD and IC, it may be established as a safe, cost-effective, non-pharmacological intervention that facilitates self-management of this debilitating and life-limiting long-term condition.
Candidates are requested to submit a more detailed proposal (of a maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of the application.
The successful applicant will hold a relevant first degree in healthcare subject (medicine, nursing or allied health professional) or exercise physiology. Previous experience of quantitative research methodology is desirable.