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Heart Lung. 1996 Jul-Aug;25(4):288-94.

Home-based, upper-arm exercise training for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA 15213, USA.


Prior studies demonstrate the ability of upper extremity training to increase arm strength and endurance when incorporated into a pulmonary rehabilitation program. However, patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may have transportation or mobility problems that make it difficult to travel to a rehabilitation site to obtain this training. This pilot study was designed to determine whether a home-based, upper-arm exercise program could increase arm strength and endurance, and decrease perceptions of breathlessness and fatigue during five activities of daily living. Twenty patients with severe COPD (FEV1 0.80 +/- 0.42) were randomized to an experimental (n = 10) or control group (n = 10). The experimental-group training included three upper arm exercises five times a week for 8 weeks, with training level incremented during weekly home visits. Control-group subjects were contacted weekly to equalize attention from health care providers. During the upper-extremity endurance test for number of rings moved, no significant differences between groups were seen for interaction or treatment. However, there was a significant interaction between treatment and time for perceived fatigue (p = 0.0012), with the experimental group perceiving less fatigue during upper arm work than did the control group. No change was seen in perceived breathlessness. Findings of this study suggest that a home-based, upper-arm exercise program can reduce perceptions of fatigue for patients with severe COPD during activities involving upper arm work. Testing in a larger sample is indicated to determine whether this training can also improve ability to perform unsupported arm work.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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