Patient Daily: American Heart Association praises CMS for approving therapy for peripheral artery disease

The American Heart Association’s CEO Nancy Brown praised the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the final decision allowing Medicare patients to receive supervised exercise therapy (SET) for symptomatic peripheral artery disease (PAD).

“We are so pleased that patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) will now be able to receive supervised exercise therapy (SET) through Medicare,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “PAD affects 12 to 20 percent of Americans age 60 and older, and the incidence of PAD increases considerably with age. Medicare beneficiaries, a significant portion of which have PAD, will benefit considerably from participating in supervised exercise therapy sessions. Evidence shows this therapy can improve quality of life for patients and enhance clinical outcomes.”

SET is the recommended therapy for PAD. The noninvasive, low-risk therapy is recommended by the AHA and other organizations as a first-line treatment for the chronic condition.

PAD is similar to coronary artery disease (CAD) but affects the peripheral arteries to the arms, head, stomach and, most commonly, the legs. Both conditions are caused by atherosclerosis, which narrows and blocks the arteries. PAD symptoms may include leg or hip cramping and pain or tiredness while walking or climbing stairs.

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