There are few studies evaluating physical activity (PA) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT).
In this cross-sectional study, we compared lung function, arterial blood gases, respiratory and peripheral muscle strength, 6-min walking distance (6MWD), daily energy expenditure and steps, and health-related quality of life (HRQL) in COPD patients on LTOT (LTOT group) versus two groups of control patients not needing LTOT: with (HYPOX) and without (COPD) exercise-induced desaturations.
Groups did not differ as regards demographics, anthropometrics, peripheral or respiratory muscle strength. Compared to the other groups, LTOT patients had more severe airway obstruction and lung hyperinflation, greater number and severity of comorbidities, shorter 6MWD, as well as lower mean SpO 2 during 6MWD and worse quality of life. LTOT patients had a lower daily energy expenditure, shorter time spent > 3.0 METs and longer sedentary time compared to the COPD group, and less daily steps compared to the other groups. No significant difference in any parameter of PA was found between COPD and HYPOX. In LTOT patients, daily steps showed a strong correlation with 6MWD, and a moderate correlation with airway obstruction, level of oxygenation, comorbidities and quality of life but not with peripheral and respiratory muscle strength. In COPD and HYPOX patients, daily steps were strongly correlated with 6MWD and level of oxygenation as assessed by PaO 2/FiO 2. There was no significant correlation between mean SpO 2 and 6MWD in any group.