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Exercise training alone or with the addition of activity counseling improves physical activity levels in COPD: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Authors Lahham A, McDonald CF, Holland AE

Received 1 September 2016

Accepted for publication 3 November 2016

Published 8 December 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 3121—3136

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S121263

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Aroub Lahham,1,2 Christine F McDonald,2–4 Anne E Holland1,2,5

1Discipline of Physiotherapy, La Trobe University, 2Institute for Breathing and Sleep, 3Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Austin Health, 4Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, 5Department of Physiotherapy, Alfred Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Background: Physical inactivity is associated with poor outcomes in COPD, and as a result, interventions to improve physical activity (PA) are a current research focus. However, many trials have been small and inconclusive.
Objective: The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to study the effects of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) targeting PA in COPD.
Methods: Databases (Physiotherapy Evidence Database [PEDro], Embase, MEDLINE, CINAHL and the Cochrane Central Register for Controlled Trials) were searched using the following keywords: “COPD”, “intervention” and “physical activity” from inception to May 20, 2016; published RCTs that aimed to increase PA in individuals with COPD were included. The PEDro scale was used to rate study quality. Standardized mean differences (effect sizes, ESs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were determined. Effects of included interventions were also measured according to the minimal important difference (MID) in daily steps for COPD (599 daily steps).
Results: A total of 37 RCTs with 4,314 participants (mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) % predicted 50.5 [SD=10.4]) were identified. Interventions including exercise training (ET; n=3 studies, 103 participants) significantly increased PA levels in COPD compared to standard care (ES [95% CI]; 0.84 [0.44–1.25]). The addition of activity counseling to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR; n=4 studies, 140 participants) showed important effects on PA levels compared to PR alone (0.47 [0.02–0.92]), achieving significant increases that exceeded the MID for daily steps in COPD (mean difference [95% CI], 1,452 daily steps [549–2,356]). Reporting of methodological quality was poor in most included RCTs.
Conclusion: Interventions that included ET and PA counseling during PR were effective strategies to improve PA in COPD.

Keywords: pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive, physical activity, interventions

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