Purpose: To investigate whether the acute benefits of rollator use are consistent over time in individuals with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Methods: Thirty-one stable subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (13 men, 18 women), aged 68 +/- 8 years, with a forced expiratory volume in 1 second of 0.7 +/- 0.2 L (33% +/- 12% predicted) and a baseline 6-minute walk (6MW) of 261 +/- 68 m, were recruited from a respiratory clinic after completion of a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Two 6MWs were performed at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks, one walking unaided and the other walking with the assistance of a rollator. The test order was randomly chosen at baseline, and the same test order was used at each time point. The primary outcome measures were distance walked in 6 minutes (meters), perceived dyspnea using a modified Borg scale, and number of rests taken.
Results: Subjects achieved higher 6MW distances during assisted compared with unassisted walking at baseline (292 +/- 67 vs 263 +/- 67 m), 4 weeks (296 +/- 62 vs 275 +/- 63m), and 8 weeks (283 +/- 65 vs 259 +/- 68 m) (P = .013), with no time effect (P = .5). In addition, use of a rollator resulted in a significant improvement in dyspnea (P = .004) at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks, with no time effect (P = .7). The use of a rollator also reduced the number of rests taken during the 6MW (P < .001), with no time effect (P = .9).
Conclusions: Rollator use resulted in improvements in performance in the 6MW, which were consistent over time among individuals with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who walk less than 375 m during an unaided 6MW.