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The effects of high intensity exercise during pulmonary rehabilitation on ventilatory parameters in people with moderate to severe stable COPD: a systematic review

Authors Osterling K, MacFadyen K, Gilbert R, Dechman G

Received 20 May 2014

Accepted for publication 4 July 2014

Published 1 October 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 1069—1079


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Kristin Osterling,1 Kimbly MacFadyen,1 Robert Gilbert,2 Gail Dechman1

1School of Physiotherapy, 2School of Health Sciences, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

Objective: The objective of this systematic review was to determine whether people with moderate to severe COPD who are participating in pulmonary rehabilitation and exercising at high intensity demonstrate the changes in ventilatory parameters that are associated with decreased dyspnea.
Data sources: The authors searched EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, and CINAHL databases up to December 2013 for relevant randomized control trials, systematic reviews, and observational studies. References of identified studies were also screened.
Study selection: Studies conducted in a pulmonary rehabilitation setting that included education and exercise were included. Symptom-limited, graded exercise testing that measured tidal volume, respiratory rate, minute ventilation, and inspiratory capacity was required. The studies that contained these keywords in the title or the abstract were selected for further evaluation of the text. Disagreements between reviewers were resolved by consensus. Four studies met these inclusion criteria.
Data extraction: Quality assessment and data extraction were performed independently by two reviewers. Risk of bias and quality was assessed according to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
Data synthesis: Participants in three studies trained at high intensity (70%–80% maximum workload), demonstrating statistically significant changes in tidal volume and respiratory rate. One study did not demonstrate positive ventilatory benefits; however, participants may not have met the desired training intensity. Two studies reported improvement in dyspnea at submaximal exercise intensities. One study noted an increased maximum workload with no significant change in dyspnea at peak exercise.
Conclusion: People with moderate to severe, stable COPD were able to perform high intensity exercise, which was associated with positive changes in ventilatory parameters and dyspnea. A number of factors limit the generalizability of these results to people participating in pulmonary rehabilitation.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive lung disease, exercise, tidal volume, respiratory rate

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