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Performance during constant workrate cycling exercise in women with COPD and hyperinflation.


physiology, Adult, Aged, Exercise, Exercise Test, methods, Female, Humans, Inhalation, Inspiratory Reserve Volume, Male, Middle Aged, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive, complications, physiopathology, Pulmonary Emphysema, Respiratory Function Tests, Severity of Illness Index

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      We aimed to characterize gender differences in exercise endurance, operating lung volumes and symptoms limitation during exercise in patients with COPD. Ninety-three women and 93 men with COPD matched for age and disease severity were evaluated during symptom-limited constant-work rate cycle exercise at 75% of peak capacity. Breathing pattern, inspiratory capacity, dyspnoea and leg discomfort Borg scores were recorded during exercise. Endurance time was shorter in women compared to men. Inspiratory capacity decreased at a similar rate during exercise in women and men (0.71 vs. 0.81 ml x s(- 1) for women and men respectively, p = 0.47) despite lower ventilation at end-exercise in women. At end-exercise, women showed lower inspiratory reserve volume (p < 0.005). Dyspnoea responses during exercise occurred with a steep rise near end-exercise, when inspiratory reserve volume approached a critical value, at 10% of total lung capacity, this onset of dyspnoea acceleration occurred earlier in women (p < 0.0001). At the same relative exercise intensity, women with COPD had lower endurance time than men. Compared to men, women with COPD were disadvantaged during exercise as they reached a critical inspiratory reserve volume earlier, leading to a steep increase in dyspnoea and to exercise termination.

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