Effect of Strength Versus Strength and Endurance Upper Limb Exercise Training in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A RANDOMIZED CLINICAL TRIAL

J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2021 Jun 10. doi: 10.1097/HCR.0000000000000620. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) including exercise training improves muscle strength, exercise capacity, and health-related quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the evidence of the effect of upper limb exercise training (ULET) on activities of daily living (ADL) is sparse. This study investigated the effect of two different types of ULET on ADL in addition to standard PR.

Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to a strength or a combined ULET group. Both groups exercised 2 d/wk for 12 wk. Outcome measures were handgrip strength and muscle strength of biceps and triceps muscles. Moreover, health-related quality of life was assessed through the COPD assessment test (CAT) and Saint George Respiratory Questionnaire. Ability to perform ADL was evaluated through an ADL simulation test. Dyspnea was evaluated by a modified Medical Research Council scale, whereas dyspnea and fatigue perception during strength and ADL tests were measured through a modified Borg scale.

Results: Thirty-six patients with COPD (67.4 ± 5.3 yr) participated in the study. Significant improvements in upper limb strength and CAT were found within both groups. At the end of the study period, patients in the combined group improved time of the ADL test (P = .02) with reduced perception of fatigue (P = .03) compared with patients in the strength group.

Conclusions: In addition to standard PR of patients with COPD, the combined endurance and resistance ULET program improved ADL and muscle strength, whereas resistance training only increased strength.