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Effects of aerobic training combined with respiratory muscle stretching on the functional exercise capacity and thoracoabdominal kinematics in patients with COPD: a randomized and controlled trial

Authors Wada JT, Borges-Santos E, Porras DC, Paisani DM, Cukier A, Lunardi AC, Carvalho CRF

Received 8 June 2016

Accepted for publication 3 September 2016

Published 28 October 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 2691—2700


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Juliano T Wada,1 Erickson Borges-Santos,1 Desiderio Cano Porras,1 Denise M Paisani,1 Alberto Cukier,2 Adriana C Lunardi,1 Celso RF Carvalho1

1Department of Physical Therapy, 2Department of Cardiopneumology, School of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Background: Patients with COPD present a major recruitment of the inspiratory muscles, predisposing to chest incoordination, increasing the degree of dyspnea and impairing their exercise capacity. Stretching techniques could decrease the respiratory muscle activity and improve their contractile capacity; however, the systemic effects of stretching remain unknown.
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of aerobic training combined with respiratory muscle stretching on functional exercise capacity and thoracoabdominal kinematics in patients with COPD.
Design: This study was a randomized and controlled trial.
Participants: A total of 30 patients were allocated to a treatment group (TG) or a control group (CG; n=15, each group).
Intervention: The TG was engaged in respiratory muscle stretching and the CG in upper and lower limb muscle stretching. Both groups performed 24 sessions (twice a week, 12 weeks) of aerobic training.
Evaluations: Functional exercise capacity (6-minute walk test), thoracoabdominal kinematics (optoelectronic plethysmography), and respiratory muscle activity (surface electromyography) were evaluated during exercise. Analysis of covariance was used to compare the groups at a significance level of 5%.
Results: After the intervention, the TG showed improved abdominal (ABD) contribution, compartmental volume, mobility, and functional exercise capacity with decreased dyspnea when compared with the CG (P<0.01). The TG also showed a decreased respiratory muscle effort required to obtain the same pulmonary volume compared to the CG (P<0.001).
Conclusion: Our results suggest that aerobic training combined with respiratory muscle stretching increases the functional exercise capacity with decreased dyspnea in patients with COPD. These effects are associated with an increased efficacy of the respiratory muscles and participation of the ABD compartment.

Keywords: COPD, respiratory muscles, muscular stretching, respiratory mechanics, dyspnea

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