Intensity of physical exercise and its effect on functional capacity in COPD: systematic review and meta-analysis

J Bras Pneumol. 2019 Sep 26;45(6):e20180011. doi: 10.1590/1806-3713/e20180011. eCollection 2019.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Objective: To evaluate the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), in comparison with those of continuous exercise, on functional capacity and cardiovascular variables in patients with COPD, through a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Methods: We searched PubMed, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and EMBASE, as well as performing hand searches, for articles published up through January of 2017. We included studies comparing exercise regimens of different intensities, in terms of their effects on functional capacity and cardiovascular variables in patients with COPD.

Results: Of the 78 articles identified, 6 were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis. Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) did not differ significantly between HIIT and control interventions. That was true for relative VO2max (0.03 mL/kg/min; 95% CI: -3.05 to 3.10) and absolute VO2max (0.03 L/min, 95% CI: -0.02 to 0.08).

Conclusions: The effects of HIIT appear to be comparable to those of continuous exercise in relation to functional and cardiovascular responses. However, our findings should be interpreted with caution because the studies evaluated present a high risk of bias, which could have a direct influence on the results.

Objetivo:: Avaliar e comparar os efeitos do high-intensity interval training (HIIT, treinamento intervalado de alta intensidade) aos do exercício contínuo sobre a capacidade funcional e variáveis cardiovasculares em pacientes com DPOC por meio de revisão sistemática e meta-análise de estudos controlados randomizados.

Métodos:: A busca incluiu as bases PubMed, Physiotherapy Evidence Database, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials e EMBASE, além de busca manual, até janeiro de 2017. Foram incluídos estudos que compararam os efeitos de diferentes intensidades de exercício em pacientes com DPOC sobre a capacidade funcional e variáveis cardiovasculares.

Resultados:: Dos 78 artigos identificados, 6 foram incluídos na revisão sistemática e meta-análise. Em relação ao consumo máximo de oxigênio (VO2máx), foi observado que não houve diferenças entre o HIIT e outra intervenção no VO2máx relativo (0,03 ml/kg/min; IC95%: −3,05 a 3,10) e VO2máx absoluto (0,03 l/min; IC95%: −0,02 a 0,08).

Conclusões:: O HIIT e o exercício contínuo atuam de maneira semelhante em relação a respostas funcionais e cardiovasculares. Entretanto, os resultados apresentados devem ser analisados com cautela, pois os estudos incluídos apresentaram alto risco de viés, podendo influenciar diretamente seus resultados.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • High-Intensity Interval Training / methods*
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome