Exercise-induced dynamic hyperinflation and large intrathoracic pressure swings may compromise the normal increase in cardiac output (Q) in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Therefore, it is anticipated that the greater the disease severity, the greater would be the impairment in cardiac output during exercise. Eighty COPD patients (20 at each GOLD Stage) and 10 healthy age-matched individuals undertook a constant-load test on a cycle-ergometer (75% WR(peak)) and a 6min walking test (6MWT). Cardiac output was measured by bioimpedance (PhysioFlow, Enduro) to determine the mean response time at the onset of exercise (MRTon) and during recovery (MRToff). Whilst cardiac output mean response time was not different between the two exercise protocols, MRT responses during cycling were slower in GOLD Stages III and IV compared to Stages I and II (MRTon: Stage I: 45±2, Stage II: 65±3, Stage III: 90±3, Stage IV: 106±3s; MRToff: Stage I: 42±2, Stage II: 68±3, Stage III: 87±3, Stage IV: 104±3s, respectively). In conclusion, the more advanced the disease severity the more impaired is the hemodynamic response to constant-load exercise and the 6MWT, possibly reflecting greater cardiovascular impairment and/or greater physical deconditioning.
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