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Chest. 1988 Apr;93(4):688-92.

Upper extremity exercise training in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego.


Many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) report greater limitation for activities involving the upper extremities than the lower extremities. Exercise training has generally emphasized lower-extremity exercise. We designed and evaluated two simple, practical, and widely applicable upper-extremity training programs in 45 patients with COPD participating concurrently in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation program. Patients were randomly assigned to one of the following three groups: (1) gravity-resistance (GR) upper-extremity training; (2) modified proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) upper-extremity training; or (3) no upper-extremity training (control). Patients were evaluated before and after at least six weeks of uninterrupted training. Twenty-eight patients completed the study. Compared to controls, both GR and PNF patients demonstrated improved performance on tests specific to the training performed (upper-extremity performance test, maximal level and endurance on isokinetic arm cycle). There were no significant changes on isotonic arm cycle, ventilatory muscle endurance, or simulated activities of daily-living tests. Ratings of perceived breathlessness and fatigue decreased significantly in all groups for several tests. We conclude that specific upper-extremity training may be beneficial in the rehabilitation of patients with COPD and warrants further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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