Long-term programs needed to change activity patterns of COPD patients
By David Holmes
11 August 2008
Chest 2008; 134: 273-280

MedWire News: Only rehabilitation programs of at least 6 months' duration increase the time spent walking in daily life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), researchers report.

"This is relevant information since walking is considered to be the most common and important type of physical activity among older adults," Rik Gosselink (University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium) and team explain in the journal Chest.

Gosselink and team assessed physical activities in daily life, pulmonary function, exercise capacity, muscle force, quality of life, and functional status at baseline, after 3 months, and at the end of a 6-month multidisciplinary rehabilitation program in 29 patients (average age 67 years).

The researchers found that exercise capacity, muscle force, quality of life, and functional status improved significantly after 3 months of pulmonary rehabilitation, with further improvements in muscle force, functional status, and quality of life at 6 months.

In addition, movement intensity during walking improved significantly after 3 months with further improvements after 6 months. However, walking time in daily life did not improve at 3 months, but did show a significant improvement after 6 months.

"Although 3 months of multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation improved a variety of outcomes in patients with COPD, patients were not yet spending more time walking in daily life. Significant improvements in walking time in daily lifewere observed only after 6 months of pulmonary rehabilitation," the authors write.

Gosselink and team conclude: "If one aims at changing physical activity habits in the daily life of COPD patients, the contribution of long-lasting programs might be important."

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