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COPD. 2009 Apr;6(2):121-9. doi: 10.1080/15412550902755044.

Methodology for using long-term accelerometry monitoring to describe daily activity patterns in COPD.

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  • 1Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California 90502, USA.


We sought to develop procedures for computerized analysis of long-term, high-resolution activity monitoring data that allow accurate assessment of the time course of activity levels suitable for use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. Twenty-two COPD patients utilizing long-term oxygen recruited from 5 sites of the COPD Clinical Research Network wore a triaxial accelerometer (RT3, Stayhealthy, Monrovia, CA) during waking hours over a 14-day period. Computerized algorithms were composed allowing minute-by-minute activity data to be analyzed to determine, for each minute, whether the monitor was being worn. Temporal alignment allowed determination of average time course of activity level, expressed as average vector magnitude units (VMU, the vectorial sum of activity counts in three orthogonal directions) per minute, for each hour of the day. Mid-day activity was quantified as average VMU/minute between 10AM and 4PM for minutes the monitor was worn. Over the 14 day monitoring period, subjects wore the monitor an average of 11.4 +/- 3.0 hours x day(-1). During mid-day hours, subjects wore the monitor 76.3% of the time and generated an average activity level of 112 +/- 55 VMU x min(-1). Increase in precision of activity estimates with longer monitoring periods was demonstrated. This analysis scheme allows a detailed temporal pattern of activity to be defined from triaxial accelerometer recordings and has the potential to facilitate comparisons among subjects and between subject groups. This trial is registered at (NCT00325754).

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