21 January 2020
Pulmonary rehabilitation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) reduces dyspnoea and improves exercise capacity and quality of life. The improvement in exercise capacity is variable and unpredictable, however. Respiratory system impedance obtained by forced oscillation technique (FOT) as a measure of ventilatory impairment in COPD may relate to improvement in exercise capacity with pulmonary rehabilitation. We aimed to determine if baseline FOT parameters relate to changes in exercise capacity following pulmonary rehabilitation.
At the start of rehabilitation, 15 COPD subjects (mean(SD) 75.2(6.1) years, FEV1 z-score −2.61(0.84)) had measurements by FOT, spirometry, plethysmographic lung volumes and 6-minute walk distance (6MWD). Respiratory system resistance (Rrs) and reactance (Xrs) parameters as the mean over all breaths (R mean, X mean), during inspiration only (R insp, X insp), and expiratory flow limitation (DeltaXrs = X insp−X exp), were calculated. FOT and 6MWD measurements were repeated at completion of rehabilitation and 3 months after completion.
At baseline, Xrs measures were unrelated to 6MWD. X insp improved significantly with rehabilitation (from mean(SD) −2.35(1.02) to −2.04(0.85) cmH 2O.s.L −1, p=0.008), while other FOT parameters did not. No FOT parameters related to the change in 6MWD at program completion. Baseline X mean, DeltaXrs, and FVC z-score correlated with the change in 6MWD between completion and 3 months after completion of rehabilitation (r s=0.62, p=0.03; r s=−0.65, p=0.02; and r s=0.62, p=0.03, respectively); with worse ventilatory impairment predicting loss of 6MWD. There were no relationships between Rrs parameters, FEV1 or FEV1/FVC z-scores and changes in 6MWD.