Effects of home-based prescribed pulmonary exercise by patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Trials. 2019 Jan 11;20(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-3149-7.


Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) not only affects pulmonary function but also leads to skeletal muscle dysfunction. The various characteristics of different forms of traditional Chinese exercise lead to inconsistent clinical effects in COPD patients. Hence, the present study carefully combined and rearranged liuzijue, wuqinxi, baduanjin, and yijinjing into a pulmonary exercise program targeting COPD patients.

Methods/design: This study is a single-blind, randomized controlled trial. A random number table will be generated by an independent person. Each number will be placed in a sealed opaque envelop to blind assignment. All outcome assessors will be blinded to group assignment. COPD patients between 40 and 80 years of age, with stable medical treatment and no regular participation in regular exercise in the last 6 months will be included. All participants will be recruited from the Respiratory Medicine Department of Yue-Yang Integrative Medicine Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. All participants will continue to follow their medical treatment. They will be randomly assigned to one of four groups in a 1:1:1:1 ratio: (1) usual care (control group, CG), (2) pulmonary exercise group (PG), (3) resistance exercise group (RG), or (4) combined pulmonary exercise and resistance exercise group (PRG). CG participants will receive medical treatment only. PG participants will perform 60 min of exercise twice a day 7 days a week for 3 months, with 1 day's exercise per week at hospital under guidance and supervision. RG participants will perform 60 min of resistance exercise once a day, three times a week for 3 months, with 1 day's exercise per week at hospital under guidance and supervision. PRG participants will perform 60 min of prescribed pulmonary exercise combined with resistance exercise for 3 months. The outcomes include the isokinetic strength of peripheral skeletal muscle, surface electromyography, 6-min walking distance, 30-s arm curl test, pulmonary function, respiratory muscle strength, dyspnea, body composition, physical activity, quality of life, and Chronic Disease Self-Efficacy Scale.

Discussion: The results of this study will compensate for the current inadequate understanding of prescribed pulmonary exercise and may provide a new, simple, convenient, and effective home-based exercise intervention for COPD patients.

Trial registration: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry, ChiCTR-1800017405 . Registered on 28 July 2018.

Keywords: COPD; home-based rehabilitation; prescribed pulmonary exercise; resistance exercise; skeletal muscle function.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breathing Exercises / methods*
  • China
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recovery of Function
  • Respiration*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome