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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Do supervised weekly exercise programs maintain functional exercise capacity and quality of life, twelve months after pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD?

Lissa M Spencer, Jennifer A Alison, Zoe J McKeough
BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2007, 7: 7
17506903

BACKGROUND: Pulmonary rehabilitation programs have been shown to increase functional exercise capacity and quality of life in COPD patients. However, following the completion of pulmonary rehabilitation the benefits begin to decline unless the program is of longer duration or ongoing maintenance exercise is followed. Therefore, the aim of this study is to determine if supervised, weekly, hospital-based exercise compared to home exercise will maintain the benefits gained from an eight-week pulmonary rehabilitation program in COPD subjects to twelve months.

METHODS: Following completion of an eight-week pulmonary rehabilitation program, COPD subjects will be recruited and randomised (using concealed allocation in numbered envelopes) into either the maintenance exercise group (supervised, weekly, hospital-based exercise) or the control group (unsupervised home exercise) and followed for twelve months. Measurements will be taken at baseline (post an eight-week pulmonary rehabilitation program), three, six and twelve months. The exercise measurements will include two six-minute walk tests, two incremental shuttle walk tests, and two endurance shuttle walk tests. Oxygen saturation, heart rate and dyspnoea will be monitored during all these tests. Quality of life will be measured using the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Participants will be excluded if they require supplemental oxygen or have neurological or musculoskeletal co-morbidities that will prevent them from exercising independently.

DISCUSSION: Pulmonary rehabilitation plays an important part in the management of COPD and the results from this study will help determine if supervised, weekly, hospital-based exercise can successfully maintain functional exercise capacity and quality of life following an eight-week pulmonary rehabilitation program in COPD subjects in Australia.

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