Questions: How effective is home-based exercise therapy delivered using advanced telehealth technology (ATT-ET) for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) compared with: no exercise therapy (ET), in/outpatient ET, and home-based ET without ATT?
Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials.
Participants: People with stable COPD referred for ET.
Outcome measures: Exercise capacity, quality of life, functional dyspnoea, cost-effectiveness and various secondary outcomes.
Results: Fifteen eligible trials involved 1,522 participants. Compared with no ET, ATT-ET improved exercise capacity (four studies, 6-minute walk test MD 15 m, 95% CI 5 to 24) and probably improved quality of life (four studies, SMD 0.22, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.43) and functional dyspnoea (two studies, Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire-Dyspnoea MD 2, 95% CI 0 to 4). ATT-ET had a similar effect as in/outpatient ET on functional dyspnoea (two studies, SMD -0.05, 95% CI -0.39 to 0.29) and a similar or better effect on quality of life (two studies, SMD 0.23, 95% CI -0.04 to 0.50) but its relative effect on exercise capacity was very uncertain (three studies, 6-minute walk test MD 6 m, 95% CI -26 to 37). ATT-ET had a similar effect as home-based ET without ATT on exercise capacity (three studies, 6-minute walk test MD 2 m, 95% CI -16 to 19) and similar or better effects on quality of life (three studies, SMD 0.79, 95% CI -0.04 to 1.62) and functional dyspnoea (two studies, Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire-Dyspnoea MD 2, 95% CI 0 to 4). ATT-ET had effects on most secondary outcomes that were similar to or better than each comparator.
Conclusion: ATT-ET improves exercise capacity, functional dyspnoea and quality of life compared with no ET, although some benefits may be small. Its benefits are generally similar to in/outpatient ET and similar to or better than home-based ET without ATT.
Registration: PROSPERO CRD42020165773.
Keywords: COPD; Exercise; Meta-analysis; Pulmonary rehabilitation; Telehealth; Telerehabilitation.
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