Background: Little information exists about the pattern of daily activity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), especially in those who are on long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT). The aim of this study was to explore the regular level of domestic physical activity in patients with COPD and to explore differences in activity in those on LTOT.
Methods: Daily activity was recorded using an activity monitor for 7 consecutive days in 4 groups. Group 1 had severe COPD (FEV1 0.66 [0.42] L) receiving LTOT (n = 9). Group 2 had severe COPD (FEV1 1.07 [0.43] L) and had full knowledge of the activity monitor and the purpose of the study (n = 10). Group 3 had severe COPD (FEV1 1.16 [0.27] L) but were unaware of the precise nature of the study (n = 10). Group 4 (n = 10) were the healthy control group. Participants also completed health status questionnaires.
Results: There were statistically significant differences in the level of daily activity between all groups (P < .001) except between groups 2 and 3. There were no significant differences between days within groups. The activity counts compared to the healthy groups were reduced by 49% in groups 2 and 3 and by 79% in those on LTOT.
Conclusion: Patients with COPD demonstrate reduced levels of spontaneous physical activity compared with healthy controls. Furthermore, patients receiving LTOT have an even lower level of domestic activity compared with that of those not on LTOT but with COPD of similar severity.