Distractive Auditory Stimuli Alleviate the Perception of Dyspnea Induced by Low-Intensity Exercise in Elderly Subjects With COPD

Respir Care. 2015 May;60(5):689-94. doi: 10.4187/respcare.03533. Epub 2015 Jan 13.


Background: Although recent studies have shown that distractive auditory stimuli (DAS) in the form of music increase adherence to exercise in subjects with COPD, the effect of DAS on dyspnea induced by low-intensity, constant-load exercise in elderly patients with COPD has not been elucidated. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of DAS on the perception of dyspnea induced by low-intensity, constant-load exercise in elderly subjects with COPD.

Methods: We enrolled 16 male out-patients with COPD. Subjects completed cycling exercises with and without DAS at 40% maximum oxygen consumption. They were asked to rate their perception of dyspnea using the modified Borg scale every 3 min during exercise and every 1 min during the recovery period.

Results: Dyspnea perception during low-intensity exercise showed a significant correlation between the exercise condition (DAS and control) and exercise duration (P = .04). Exercise-induced dyspnea perception under the DAS condition was significantly lower than that under the control condition from 18 min after the start of exercise to 3 min after the end of exercise (18, 20, 21, 22, and 23 min, P = .01, P < .001, P = .009, P = .006, and P = .006, respectively). However, oxygen consumption and ventilation in response to low-intensity exercise did not significantly differ in the DAS and control conditions (P = .39 and .14, respectively)

Conclusions: Our results suggest that DAS is a non-pharmacologic therapy that can be used to reduce the dyspneic sensation in elderly patients with COPD.

Keywords: COPD; cycle ergometer; distractive auditory stimuli; elderly; exercise-induced dyspnea; low-intensity exercise.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dyspnea / psychology*
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Exercise Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Perception
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*