Peripheral neuropathy is characterized by a reduction/alteration in sensation, muscle weakness
and chronic fatigue, which may compromise physical function. Mechanisms contributing to the development of PN may
include poor vascular function. The purpose was to examine the relationship between measures of vascular and physical
function in individuals with peripheral neuropathy.
This study used a cross sectional design to examine 59 individuals
with peripheral neuropathy. Strain gauge plethysmography was used to assess lower leg vascular function. Specific
measures included resting in-flow, venous outflow (VOt1/2), and reactive hyperemic blood flow (RHBF). Physical
function was examined using a 6-minute walk (6MWD), the timed up and go (TUG) test, and isokinetic knee extension
(KE) and flexion (KF).
RHBF was related to the TUG (r=-0.31, p=0.02) and 6MWD (r=0.37, p=0.007). Patients
in the top tertile of the TUG had significantly higher peak RHBF compared to the lower tertiles. Those who walked
<400m on the 6MWD had lower RHBF compared to those who walked >400m. Finally, those in the top tertile of KF exhibited
These data indicate a relationship between vascular and physical function in peripheral
neuropathy. Individuals with greater physical function exhibit more favorable measures of arterial inflow and venous outflow.