Study objectives: The aims of this study were to establish whether pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) improves domestic function and daily activity levels in COPD and whether individually targeted exercise is more effective than general exercise.
Design: Prospective randomized, controlled trial.
Setting: Outpatient PR program in secondary care.
Participants: One-hundred eighty patients (mean [±SD] age, 68.3 ± 8.6 years; FEV1, 0.95 ± 0.4 L; FEV1/FVC ratio, 0.51 ± 0.15; 111 male patients; 69 female patients) with stable COPD. One hundred twenty-one patients completed the study.
Interventions: Patients were randomized to a conventional 7-week general exercise program ([GEP] n = 90) or an individually targeted exercise program ([ITEP] n = 90).
Measurement and results: Daily activity was measured using ambulatory activity monitors (Z80 –32k V1 Int; Gaehwiler Electronics; Hombrechtikon, Switzerland). These were lightweight devices, which contained a uniaxial accelerometer. Domestic function was assessed by the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM). Exercise performance was assessed by the incremental shuttle walk test (ISWT) and the endurance shuttle walk test and health status by the chronic respiratory questionnaire–self-reported. Activity monitor counts increased by 29.18% (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.19 to 55.17; p = 0.03) for the GEP and 40.63% (95% CI, 7.42 to 73.83; p = 0.02) for the ITEP. Mean COPM performance scores increased by 1.71 (95% CI, 1.37 to 2.05; p = 0.0001) for the GEP and 1.46 (95% CI, 1.05 to 1.87; p = 0.0001) for the ITEP. Mean COPM satisfaction scores increased by 2.27 (95% CI, 1.74 to 2.81; p = 0.0001) for the GEP and 2.04 (95% CI, 1.56 to 2.52; p = 0.0001) for the ITEP. ISWT scores increased by 81.72 m (range, 63.83 to 99.62) for the GEP and by 85.52 m (range, 67.62 to 103.42) for the ITEP. No statistically significant difference was found between the general exercise group and the individually targeted exercise group for any outcome measure.
Conclusions: Pulmonary rehabilitation improves domestic function and physical activity. This study also demonstrates that general exercise training is as effective as individually targeted training.