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Physiother Can. 2013 Winter;65(1):40-3. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2011-49.

Relationship and responsiveness of three upper-limb tests in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Author information

1
Department of Respiratory Medicine, West Park Healthcare Centre ; Department of Physical Therapy ; St. John's Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto.
2
Department of Respiratory Medicine, West Park Healthcare Centre ; School of Physiotherapy and Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University ; Lung Institute of Western Australia and Centre for Asthma, Allergy and Respiratory Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.
3
Department of Respiratory Medicine, West Park Healthcare Centre ; Department of Physical Therapy ; Department of Medicine, University of Toronto.
4
Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Umeå University, Sweden.
5
Department of Respiratory Medicine, West Park Healthcare Centre ; Department of Physical Therapy.

Abstract

in English, French

PURPOSE:

To determine (1) the relationship among three common upper-limb tests for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): unsupported upper limb exercise test (UULEX), 6-minute pegboard and ring test (6PBRT), and a muscle-strength test using a hand-held dynamometer; and (2) the responsiveness of these three tests to changes after pulmonary rehabilitation that included a resistance arm-training programme.

METHODS:

The study was a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial (RCT). The UULEX and the 6PBRT were used to measure peak arm exercise capacity and arm function, respectively. A handheld dynamometer was used to measure elbow and shoulder flexion force. We analyzed baseline data for all participants in the RCT, as well as baseline and post-PR data for those who completed 6-week follow-up testing.

RESULTS:

36 patients with COPD (mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1]=35% [SD 15%] predicted; age 66 [9] y) participated, of whom 13 completed an arm-training programme. The correlations among the test results ranged from 0.41 to 0.81 (p<0.0001). Standardized response means were 1.0 for muscle force of elbow flexion, 1.2 for shoulder flexion, and 1.8 for the 6PBRT and UULEX.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the three tests (UULEX, 6PBRT, and muscle-strength test using a hand-held dynamometer) are intended to measure different constructs, they were moderately to highly correlated with one another. The 6PBRT, UULEX, and muscle-strength test were demonstrated to be responsive to the resistance arm-training programme.

KEYWORDS:

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; exercise test; upper limb

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