Effects of whole body vibration training in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Respirology. 2013 Aug;18(6):1028-34. doi: 10.1111/resp.12122.


Background and objective: To determine if whole body vibration training (WBVT) improves muscular force and modifies functional capacity parameters in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods: We performed a randomized controlled trial in the outpatient Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department of a general hospital. Sixty stable male patients with COPD and mean forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) 34.3% (predicted) were enrolled with 51 patients completing the study. Participants were randomized into two groups: Whole Body Vibration Training Group (WBVTG), (n = 26) undergoing three sessions per week for a total of 6 weeks and a Control Group (CG) (n = 25) without intervention. The main outcome measures were isokinetic knee flexor and extensor testing in a concentric-concentric regime and exercise capacity measured by the 6-min walking test (6MWT). Secondary outcomes were pulmonary muscular assessment with maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP) and maximum expiratory pressure (MEP).

Results: No significant differences were observed between groups in maximum moment of isokinetic knee flexor/extensor testing force in a concentric-concentric regime. In contrast, WBVTG patients showed a significant increase in the 6MWT (81.2 ± 9.2) meters; mean ± SD; P < 0.001). There was also a significant decrease in maximum oxygen desaturation in the 6MWT after 6 weeks of training (3.1 ± 1.1; P = 0.01). There were significant differences between groups in MIP and MEP at the end of the study in favour of the WBVTG.

Conclusions: WBVT provided significant improvements in functional capacity in severe COPD patients without changes in muscular force.

Keywords: COPD; functional capacity; isokinetic; muscle; whole body vibration.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*
  • Walking / physiology