Noah Rubio 1 , Richard A Parker 2 , Ellen M Drost 1 , Hilary Pinnock 3 , 4 , Christopher J Weir 2 , Janet Hanley 5 , Leandro C Mantoani 1 , William MacNee 1 , Brian McKinstry 2 , 4 , Roberto A Rabinovich 1
20 April 2017
Telehealth programs to promote early identification and timely self-management of acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (AECOPDs) have yielded disappointing results, in part, because parameters monitored (symptoms, pulse oximetry, and spirometry) are weak predictors of exacerbations.
Breathing rate (BR) rises during AECOPD and may be a promising predictor. Devices suitable for home use to measure BR have recently become available, but their accuracy, acceptability, and ability to detect changes in people with COPD is not known.
We compared five BR monitors, which used different monitoring technologies, with a gold standard (Oxycon Mobile ®; CareFusion ®, a subsidiary of Becton Dickinson, San Diego, CA, USA). The monitors were validated in 21 stable COPD patients during a 57-min “activities of daily living protocol” in a laboratory setting. The two best performing monitors were then tested in a 14-day trial in a home setting in 23 stable COPD patients to determine patient acceptability and reliability of signal. Acceptability was explored in qualitative interviews. The better performing monitor was then given to 18 patients recruited during an AECOPD who wore the monitor to observe BR during the recovery phase of an AECOPD.
While two monitors demonstrated acceptable accuracy compared with the gold standard, some participants found them intrusive particularly when ill with an exacerbation, limiting their potential utility in acute situations. A reduction in resting BR during the recovery from an AECOPD was observed in some, but not in all participants and there was considerable day-to-day individual variation.