Background: The potential of whole-body vibration (WBV) as a mode of dyspnoea free physical activity for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is unknown among community-based settings. Furthermore, the acute effects of WBV on people with COPD have not been profiled in community-based settings. The aim of this community-based proof-of-concept trial was to describe acute effects of WBV by profiling subjective and objective responses to physical activity.
Findings: Seventeen community-dwelling older adults with COPD were recruited to participate in two sessions; WBV and sham WBV (SWBV). Each session consisted of five one-minute bouts interspersed with five one-minute passive rest periods. The gravitational force was ~2.5 g for WBV and ~0.0 g for SWBV. Reliability of baseline dyspnoea, heart rate, and oxygen saturation was first established and then profiled for both sessions. Acute responses to both WBV and SWBV were compared with repeated measures analysis of variance and repeated contrasts. Small changes in dyspnoea and oxygen saturation lacked subjective and clinical meaningfulness. One session of WBV and SWBV significantly increased heart rate (p ≤ 0.02), although there was no difference among WBV and SWBV (p = 0.67).
Conclusions: This community-based proof-of-concept trial showed that a session of WBV can be completed with the absence of dyspnoea for people with COPD. Furthermore, there were no meaningful differences among WBV and SWBV for heart rate and oxygen saturation. There is scope for long-term community-based intervention research using WBV given the known effects of WBV on peripheral muscle function and functional independence.