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The use of wearable technology to monitor physical activity in patients with COPD: a literature review

Authors Pericleous P, van Staa TP

Received 1 November 2018

Accepted for publication 18 March 2019

Published 19 June 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 1317—1322

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S193037

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Paraskevi Pericleous, Tjeerd Pieter van Staa

Health eResearch Centre, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Background: Physical activity is an important predictor for survival in patients with COPD. Wearable technology, such as pedometer or accelerometer, may offer an opportunity to quantify physical activity and evaluate related health benefits in these patients.
Objectives: To assess the performance of wearable technology in monitoring and improving physical activity in COPD patients from published studies.
Methods: Literature search of Medline, Cochrane, Dare, Embase and PubMed databases was made to find relevant articles that used wearable technology to monitor physical activity in COPD patients.
Results: We identified 13 studies that used wearable technology, a pedometer or an accelerator, to monitor physical activity in COPD patients. Of these, six studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) which used the monitors as part of the intervention. Two studies reported the same outcomes and comparable units. They had measured the difference that the intervention makes on the number of steps taken daily by the patients. The results were highly heterogeneous with I2=92%. The random-effects model gave an effect outcome on the number of steps taken daily of 1,821.01 [−282.71; 3,924.74] in favor of the wearable technology. Four of the 13 studies have reported technical issues with the use of the wearable technology, including high signal-to-noise ratio, memory storage problems and inaccuracy of counts. While other studies did not mention any technical issues, it is not clear whether these did not experience them or chose not to report them.
Conclusions: Our literature search has shown that data on the use of wearable technology to monitor physical activity in COPD patients are limited by the small number of studies and their heterogeneous study design. Further research and better-designed RCTs are needed to provide reliable results before physical activity monitors can be implemented routinely for COPD patients.

Keywords: COPD, physical activity, monitors, wearable

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