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Can Respir J. 2013 Mar-Apr;20(2):e10-6.

Feasibility and effectiveness of a home-based exercise training program before lung resection surgery.

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Centre de recherche de l'Institute universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Quebec, Univeriste Laval, Québec.



Patients with lung cancer often experience a reduction in exercise tolerance, muscle weakness and decreased quality of life. Although the effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation programs is well recognized in other forms of cancers and in many pulmonary diseases, few researchers have studied its impact in patients with lung cancer, particularly in those awaiting lung resection surgery (LRS).


To investigate the feasibility of a short, home-based exercise training program (HBETP) with patients under investigation for non-small cell lung cancer and potential candidates for LRS, and to determine the effectiveness of this program on exercise tolerance, skeletal muscle strength and quality of life.


Sixteen patients with lung cancer awaiting LRS participated in a four-week HBETP including moderate aerobic activities (walking and cycling) and muscle training performed three times weekly. Before and after the intervention, a cardiopulmonary exercise test, a 6 min walk test and the assessment of muscle strength and quality of life were performed.


Thirteen patients completed the four-week HBETP and all the patients completed >75% of the prescribed exercise sessions. The duration of the cycle endurance test (264±79 s versus 421±241 s; P<0.05) and the 6 min walk test distance (540±98 m versus 568±101 m; P<0.05) were significantly improved. Moreover, the strength of the deltoid, triceps and hamstrings were significantly improved (∆ post-pre training 1.82±2.83 kg, 1.32±1.75 kg and 3.41±3.7 kg; P<0.05, respectively).


In patients with lung cancer awaiting LRS, HBETP was feasible and improved exercise tolerance and muscle strength. This may be clinically relevant because poor exercise capacity and muscle weakness are predictors of postoperative complications.

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