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Physical activity in patients with COPD: is there enough evidence?

Physical Activity World Day

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Physical activity in patients with COPD: is there enough evidence?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases and causes severe breathing difficulties. Research has shown that patients who suffer from lung diseases reduce their physical activity levels and this has an impact on their participation in social life. So far the interaction between physical activity and COPD related factors as well as the consequences of physical inactivity for these patients had never been systematically reviewed until now.

Judith Garcia-Aymerich and Elena Gimeno-Santos, researchers of CREAL, an ISGlobal research centre, conducted a systematic review in the frame of PROactive project to identify and summarise existing studies that focus on associations between physical activity, its determining factors, and its impact on patients with COPD. This review was recently published in the British Medical Journal Thorax, a leading international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals in respiratory medicine.

As the authors stat in the manuscript, the results of this systematic review “will help clinicians to interpret previous research on the topic, and to identify research priorities”. Its main findings are that many studies focus on clinical, functional, socio-demographic and lifestyle factors as the ones determining physical activity levels in patients with COPD. As outcomes, COPD exacerbations and mortality are consistently associated with low levels of physical activity based on moderate quality evidence. Unfortunately, few studies have taken an integrated approach and the quality of evidence in most of these studies remains very low rendering results inconsistent. As a result, authors developed a conceptual model for physical activity in COPD based on the existing evidence.

This review’s key conclusion is that physical activity should be included in planned cohort studies and randomised trials to provide a stronger evidence base for determinants and outcomes of physical activity and for developing recommendations for or against treatments in clinical guidelines.

Reference: Gimeno-Santos E, Frei A, Steurer-Stey C, De Batlle J, Rabinovich RA, Raste Y, Hopkinson NS, Polkey MI, Van Remoortel H , Troosters T, Kulich K, Karlsson N, Puhan MA, Garcia-Aymerich J, on behalf of PROactive consortium. Determinants and outcomes of physical activity in patients with COPD: a systematic review. Thorax 2014: (en premsa).


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