Effect of a walking aid on disability, oxygenation, and breathlessness in patients with chronic airflow limitation

J Cardiopulm Rehabil. 1996 Jan-Feb;16(1):63-7. doi: 10.1097/00008483-199601000-00008.


Purpose: This study assessed the effect of a wheeled walking aid on disability, oxygenation, and breathlessness in patients with severe disability secondary to chronic irreversible airflow limitation.

Methods: Eleven subjects with chronic irreversible airflow limitation, mean forced expired volume in 1 second (FEV1) 0.71 L +/- .33 L, were studied. Subjects performed four 6-minute walk tests, two on each of two study days, twice unaided and twice with the assistance of a wheeled walking aid. A randomized cross-over design was used. All subjects were oriented to 6-minute walk tests, use of bronchodilators was controlled, and standard encouragement was given during each walk test. Outcome measures were the distance walked in 6 minutes, change in oxyhemoglobin saturation during the walk, and breathlessness using a modified Borg Scale.

Results: The use of a wheeled walker resulted in a significant increase in 6-minute walking distance, a significant reduction in hypoxemia with walking and a significant reduction in breathlessness during the walk test.

Conclusions: The use of a wheeled walker resulted in significant decreases in disability, hypoxemia, and breathlessness during a 6-minute walk test. By reducing disability and breathlessness, a wheeled walker may improve quality of life in individuals with severe impairment in lung function.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Dyspnea / blood
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Dyspnea / prevention & control*
  • Exercise Test
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / complications*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxyhemoglobins / metabolism
  • Self-Help Devices / standards*
  • Time Factors
  • Walking*


  • Oxyhemoglobins