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      Physical Activity in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease on Long-Term Oxygen Therapy: A Cross-Sectional Study

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          Background and aim

          There are few studies evaluating physical activity (PA) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT).


          To assess PA in hypoxemic COPD patients on 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.


          COPD patients on LTOT perform less physical activity than patients not needing LTOT, both with and without exercise-induced desaturations. Patients with exercise-induced desaturations do not perform less physical activity than those without.

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          Most cited references 33

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          Cumulative illness rating scale.

           W Linn,  B Linn,  Jasmine Linn (1968)
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            Physical activity in patients with COPD.

            The present study aimed to measure physical activity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to: 1) identify the disease stage at which physical activity becomes limited; 2) investigate the relationship of clinical characteristics with physical activity; 3) evaluate the predictive power of clinical characteristics identifying very inactive patients; and 4) analyse the reliability of physical activity measurements. In total, 163 patients with COPD (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stage I-IV; BODE (body mass index, airway obstruction, dyspnoea, exercise capacity) index score 0-10) and 29 patients with chronic bronchitis (normal spirometry; former GOLD stage 0) wore activity monitors that recorded steps per day, minutes of at least moderate activity, and physical activity levels for 5 days (3 weekdays plus Saturday and Sunday). Compared with patients with chronic bronchitis, steps per day, minutes of at least moderate activity and physical activity levels were reduced from GOLD stage II/BODE score 1, GOLD stage III/BODE score 3/4 and from GOLD stage III/BODE score 1, respectively. Reliability of physical activity measurements improved with the number of measured days and with higher GOLD stages. Moderate relationships were observed between clinical characteristics and physical activity. GOLD stages III and IV best predicted very inactive patients. Physical activity is reduced in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease from Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage II/ body mass index, airway obstruction, dyspnoea, exercise capacity score 1. Clinical characteristics of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease only incompletely reflect their physical activity.
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              Validity of physical activity monitors during daily life in patients with COPD.

              Symptoms during physical activity and physical inactivity are hallmarks of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our aim was to evaluate the validity and usability of six activity monitors in patients with COPD against the doubly labelled water (DLW) indirect calorimetry method. 80 COPD patients (mean ± sd age 68 ± 6 years and forced expiratory volume in 1 s 57 ± 19% predicted) recruited in four centres each wore simultaneously three or four out of six commercially available monitors validated in chronic conditions for 14 consecutive days. A priori validity criteria were defined. These included the ability to explain total energy expenditure (TEE) variance through multiple regression analysis, using TEE as the dependent variable with total body water (TBW) plus several physical activity monitor outputs as independent variables; and correlation with activity energy expenditure (AEE) measured by DLW. The Actigraph GT3X (Actigraph LLC, Pensacola, FL, USA), and DynaPort MoveMonitor (McRoberts BV, The Hague, the Netherlands) best explained the majority of the TEE variance not explained by TBW (53% and 70%, respectively) and showed the most significant correlations with AEE (r=0.71, p<0.001 and r=0.70, p<0.0001, respectively). The results of this study should guide users in choosing valid activity monitors for research or for clinical use in patients with chronic diseases such as COPD.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                05 December 2019
                : 14
                : 2815-2823
                [1 ]Respiratory Rehabilitation Division, ICS Maugeri SPA SB, Institute of Lumezzane, IRCCS , Brescia, Italy
                [2 ]Respiratory Rehabilitation Division, ICS Maugeri SPA SB, Institute of Montescano, IRCCS , Pavia, Italy
                [3 ]Department of Neuroscience, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona , Verona, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Mara Paneroni Respiratory Rehabilitation Department, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS , Via Salvatore Maugeri, 4, Pavia27100, Italy Email
                © 2019 Paneroni et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 4, References: 46, Pages: 9
                This work was supported by the “Ricerca Corrente” Funding scheme of the Ministry of Health, Italy.
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                copd, exercise, activity daily living, rehabilitation


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