Background: Patients with COPD generally have a poor peak aerobic capacity and, therefore, may experience more inconvenience during domestic activities of daily life (ADLs). Yet, task-related oxygen uptake and symptom perception during ADLs have been studied rarely in COPD. Therefore, it remains unknown whether and to what extent differences may exist in task-related oxygen uptake and symptom perception during ADLs in patients with COPD after stratification for sex; GOLD (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) stage; Medical Research Council (MRC) dyspnea grade; or score on the BMI, obstruction, dyspnea, exercise capacity (BODE) index.
Methods: Ninety-seven patients with COPD and 20 healthy elderly subjects performed the following five self-paced domestic ADLs with 4-min rest intervals: putting on socks, shoes, and vest; folding eight towels; putting away groceries; washing four dishes, cups, and saucers; and sweeping the floor for 4 min. Task-related oxygen uptake was assessed using an Oxycon Mobile device, whereas Borg scores were used to assess task-related dyspnea and fatigue.
Results: Patients with COPD used a significantly higher proportion of their peak aerobic capacity and ventilation to perform ADLs than did the healthy subjects, accompanied by higher task-related Borg dyspnea scores. Patients with GOLD stage IV, MRC dyspnea grade 5, or BODE score ≥ 6 points had the highest task-related oxygen uptake and dyspnea perception during the performance of domestic ADLs. Results showed no sex-related differences.
Conclusion: Patients with COPD experience a relatively high metabolic load and symptom perception during the performance of ADLs that is not the same as seen in their healthy peers, particularly in patients with GOLD stage IV, MRC dyspnea grade 5, or BODE score ≥ 6 points.