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The short- and long-term effects of lower limb endurance training on outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the short- and long-term effects of lower-limb endurance training on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease outpatients.

DESIGN: Prospective quasi-experimental study.

SETTING: 1383-bed teaching hospital in Taiwan.

PARTICIPANTS: Overall, 69 outpatients diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were enrolled. A total of 60 patients completed the study.

INTERVENTION: Training group: Lower-limb endurance training; control group: Education only.

MAIN MEASURES: The modified medical research council score, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease assessment test score, pulmonary function test, and number of acute exacerbation within a year.

RESULTS: The training group showed significant improvement in the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease assessment test total score, modified medical research council score (both P  < 0.001) at third month sustaining to 12th month ( P  < 0.001) and presented less events of acute exacerbation ( P  = 0.011) at 12th month. The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease assessment test decreased by 8 points sustaining to 12th month. The training group presented significant post-training functional capacity improvements in 6-min walking distance, lowest oxygen saturation during 6-min walking test, peak workload, maximum inspiratory/ expiratory pressures, and calf circumference.

CONCLUSIONS: The lower-limb endurance training improved perceived dyspnea in daily activity and health status after completion of training and sustaining for a year. The lower-limb endurance training alleviated disease impacted on reduced acute exacerbations.

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