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Home monitoring of breathing rate in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: observational study of feasibility, acceptability, and change after exacerbation

Authors Rubio N, Parker RA, Drost EM, Pinnock H, Weir CJ, Hanley J, Mantoani LC, McKinstry B, Rabinovich RA

Received 26 August 2016

Accepted for publication 9 November 2016

Published 20 April 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1221—1231


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Noah Rubio,1 Richard A Parker,2 Ellen M Drost,1 Hilary Pinnock,3,4 Christopher J Weir,2 Janet Hanley,5 Leandro C Mantoani,1 William MacNee,1 Brian McKinstry,2,4 Roberto A Rabinovich1

1Edinburgh Lung and the Environment Group Initiative (ELEGI) Colt Laboratory, Centre for Inflammation Research, 2Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, The University of Edinburgh, 3Allergy and Respiratory Research Group, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, The University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, 4EHealth group, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, The University of Edinburgh, 5School of Health and Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Lothian, UK

Abstract: Telehealth programs to promote early identification and timely self-management of acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (AECOPDs) have yielded disappointing results, in part, because parameters monitored (symptoms, pulse oximetry, and spirometry) are weak predictors of exacerbations.
Purpose: Breathing rate (BR) rises during AECOPD and may be a promising predictor. Devices suitable for home use to measure BR have recently become available, but their accuracy, acceptability, and ability to detect changes in people with COPD is not known.
Patients and methods: We compared five BR monitors, which used different monitoring technologies, with a gold standard (Oxycon Mobile®; CareFusion®, a subsidiary of Becton Dickinson, San Diego, CA, USA). The monitors were validated in 21 stable COPD patients during a 57-min “activities of daily living protocol” in a laboratory setting. The two best performing monitors were then tested in a 14-day trial in a home setting in 23 stable COPD patients to determine patient acceptability and reliability of signal. Acceptability was explored in qualitative interviews. The better performing monitor was then given to 18 patients recruited during an AECOPD who wore the monitor to observe BR during the recovery phase of an AECOPD.
Results: While two monitors demonstrated acceptable accuracy compared with the gold standard, some participants found them intrusive particularly when ill with an exacerbation, limiting their potential utility in acute situations. A reduction in resting BR during the recovery from an AECOPD was observed in some, but not in all participants and there was considerable day-to-day individual variation.
Conclusion: Resting BR shows some promise in identifying exacerbations; however, further prospective study to assess this is required.

Keywords: COPD exacerbation, telemedicine, COPD management, heart rate

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