Impact of bronchodilator therapy on exercise tolerance in COPD
HYLAB, Laboratory of Clinical Physiology and Exercise, Grenoble, France
Abstract: Exercise tolerance is an important parameter in patients with COPD and a primary goal of treatment is to reduce dyspnea to facilitate physical activities and improve health-related quality of life. This review examines the link between expiratory flow limitation and dyspnea to explain the rationale for the use of bronchodilators and review the characteristics of different types of exercise tests, with specific focus on which tests are likely to show a response to bronchodilators. An earlier literature search of studies published up to 1999 assessed the effects of bronchodilator therapy on dypsnea and exercise tolerance among patients with COPD. This current review examines the clinical evidence published since 1999. Thirty-one randomized studies of exercise tolerance associated with short- and long-acting β2-agonists and anticholinergics were identified. Evidence for the efficacy of bronchodilators in enhancing exercise capacity is often contradictory and possibly depends on the exercise test and study methodology. However, further studies should confirm the benefit of long-acting bronchodilators in improving spontaneous everyday physical activities.
Keywords: COPD, exercise, bronchodilator, walk test, exercise test
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