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Clinical Investigations: COPD |

The Short-term Effect of a Rollator on Functional Exercise Capacity Among Individuals With Severe COPD*

Sherra Solway, MSc, BSc (PT); Dina Brooks, PhD, MSc, BSc (PT); Louis Lau; Roger Goldstein, MB, ChB, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science (Ms. Solway) and the Department of Physical Therapy (Dr. Brooks), University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; and West Park Healthcare Center (Dr. Goldstein and Mr. Lau), Toronto, ON, Canada.

Correspondence to: Sherra Solway, MSc, BSc (PT), c/o Dr. Dina Brooks, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, 256 McCaul St, Toronto, ON, M5T 1W5, Canada; e-mail: s.solway@utoronto.ca



Chest. 2002;122(1):56-65. doi:10.1378/chest.122.1.56
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Study objectives: This study was conducted to examine the short-term effects of using a rollator on functional exercise capacity among individuals with COPD and to characterize which individuals benefit most from its use.

Design: Repeated-measures randomized crossover design using the 6-min walk test (6MWT) as the primary outcome measure.

Setting: Respiratory rehabilitation center.

Patients: Forty stable subjects who had received a diagnosis of COPD.

Interventions: Two 6MWTs were performed on each study day. One 6MWT was performed unaided, and the other was performed with a rollator. The order was randomized on the first day and reversed on the second day.

Results: Use of the rollator was associated with a significant reduction in dyspnea (p < 0.001) and duration of rest (reduction for the total group, 19 s; and reduction for those who walked < 300 m unaided, 40 s; p = 0.001) during the 6MWT. For subjects who walked < 300 m unaided, there was also a significant improvement in distance walked (p = 0.02). No changes were found for the measures of cardiorespiratory function or gait (p > 0.05). The requirement to rest during an unaided 6MWT was a significant predictor of improved functional exercise capacity with the use of the rollator (p < 0.005). The majority of subjects whose unaided 6MWT distance was < 300 m preferred using the rollator to walking unaided.

Conclusions: Use of a rollator was effective in improving functional exercise capacity by reducing dyspnea and rest duration among stable individuals with severe COPD. Individuals who walked < 300 m and individuals who required a rest during an unaided 6MWT benefited the most from using a rollator in terms of reduced dyspnea, reduced rest time, and improved distance walked.

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