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Long-term efficacy of intensive cycle ergometer exercise training program for advanced COPD patients

Authors Pothirat C, Chaiwong W, Phetsuk N, Liwsrisakun C, Bumroongkit C, Deesomchok A, Theerakittikul T, Limsukon A

Received 28 August 2014

Accepted for publication 20 October 2014

Published 12 January 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 133—144


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Chaicharn Pothirat, Warawut Chaiwong, Nittaya Phetsuk, Chalerm Liwsrisakun, Chaiwat Bumroongkit, Athavudh Deesomchok, Theerakorn Theerakittikul, Atikun Limsukon

Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Allergy, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Background: Exercise training has been incorporated into the international guidelines for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the long-term efficacy of the training program for patients with advanced COPD has never been evaluated in Thailand.
Purpose: To determine the long-term efficacy of intensive cycle ergometer exercise program on various clinical parameters of patients with advanced COPD.
Materials and methods: The patients with advanced COPD were separated into two groups: the intensive ergometer exercise program group and the control group. The clinical parameters of all the patients were assessed at baseline, every month for the first 3 months, and then every 3 months until they had completed the 24-month follow-up. Mann–Whitney U test was used to compare baseline mean differences between the groups. Repeated measure analysis was applied to determine the progress in all parameters during the entire follow-up period. Mean incase imputation method was applied to estimate the parameters of dropout cases.
Results: A total of 41 patients were enrolled: 27 in the intensive ergometer exercise program group and 14 in the control group. The intensive cycle ergometer exercise program group showed statistically significant improvements in muscle strength (from month 1 till the end of the study, month 24), endurance time (from month 1 till the end of measurement, month 12) and clinically significant improvements in 6-minute walk distance (from month 2 until month 9), dyspnea severity by transitional dyspnea index (from month 1 till the end of the study, month 24), and quality of life (from month 1 till the end of the study, month 24). There was no significant difference in survival rates between the groups.
Conclusion: The intensive ergometer exercise training program revealed meaningful long-term improvements in various clinical parameters for up to 2 years. These promising results should encourage health care professionals to promote exercise training for patients with advanced COPD who have limited daily activities despite optimal medication control.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary rehabilitation, ergometer training, physical endurance, strength training

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