The short-term effect of a rollator on functional exercise capacity among individuals with severe COPD

Chest. 2002 Jul;122(1):56-65. doi: 10.1378/chest.122.1.56.


Study objectives: This study was conducted to examine the short-term effects of using a rollator on functional exercise capacity among individuals with COPD and to characterize which individuals benefit most from its use.

Design: Repeated-measures randomized crossover design using the 6-min walk test (6MWT) as the primary outcome measure.

Setting: Respiratory rehabilitation center.

Patients: Forty stable subjects who had received a diagnosis of COPD.

Interventions: Two 6MWTs were performed on each study day. One 6MWT was performed unaided, and the other was performed with a rollator. The order was randomized on the first day and reversed on the second day.

Results: Use of the rollator was associated with a significant reduction in dyspnea (p < 0.001) and duration of rest (reduction for the total group, 19 s; and reduction for those who walked < 300 m unaided, 40 s; p = 0.001) during the 6MWT. For subjects who walked < 300 m unaided, there was also a significant improvement in distance walked (p = 0.02). No changes were found for the measures of cardiorespiratory function or gait (p > 0.05). The requirement to rest during an unaided 6MWT was a significant predictor of improved functional exercise capacity with the use of the rollator (p < 0.005). The majority of subjects whose unaided 6MWT distance was < 300 m preferred using the rollator to walking unaided.

Conclusions: Use of a rollator was effective in improving functional exercise capacity by reducing dyspnea and rest duration among stable individuals with severe COPD. Individuals who walked < 300 m and individuals who required a rest during an unaided 6MWT benefited the most from using a rollator in terms of reduced dyspnea, reduced rest time, and improved distance walked.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Equipment Design
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walkers
  • Walking*