Preliminary evidence from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted in Australia shows that it is safe and feasible to implement an exercise program for patients during an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), say authors of an article published in Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention.
Patients with an acute exacerbation of COPD admitted to the hospital were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups—a low-intensity exercise group that participated in twice-daily aerobic and resistance exercise sessions and physical therapy, a moderate- to high-intensity exercise group that participated in twice-daily aerobic and resistance exercise sessions and physical therapy, or a control group that participated only in physical therapy. Primary outcomes were the number and classification of adverse events and program adherence.
In 174 exercise sessions, there was 1 serious adverse event of arrhythmia in the low-intensity exercise group that resolved within 1 hour. There were 12 other minor adverse events involving 5 patients with no significant differences between groups. Patients completed an average of 80% of their scheduled sessions with no significant between-group differences. The exercise groups improved significantly in walking distance. However, no significant between-group differences were observed.
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