Comparing Various Exercise Tests for Assessing the Response to Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Patients With COPD

M Jeffery Mador, Kush Modi
Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention 2016, 36 (2): 132-9

PURPOSE: Various exercise tests have been used to assess the response to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Few studies have compared exercise tests in the same subjects to determine the relative responsiveness of various tests. The goal of this pilot study was to examine the responsiveness of different exercise tests in patients with COPD completing PR.

METHODS: Fifteen male patients with COPD underwent PR. All subjects completed 6-minute walk test (6MWT), incremental shuttle walk test (ISWT), endurance shuttle walk test (ESWT), maximal incremental exercise test (MIET), constant workload exercise test (CWET), and maximal arm ergometry tests before and after PR. The Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire was also completed before and after PR.

RESULTS: The number of participants who exceeded the minimal clinically important difference was similar for each of the different exercise tests. Effect sizes for the MIET and CWET were slightly higher, 0.82 and 0.97, respectively, than for the 6MWT, ISWT, and ESWT, 0.72, 0.65, and 0.60, respectively. Effect sizes were not significantly different between the 6MWT and the ESWT. The changes in exercise test results were not significantly correlated with the changes in quality of life. The improvement in laboratory cycling tests did not significantly correlate with the improvement in shuttle walk tests.

CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of these data, all exercise measures were responsive to PR. Indices derived from cycling in the laboratory appeared more responsive than indices derived from walking in the field when assessed by effect size, but this finding and its possible clinical significance requires confirmation in a larger study.

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