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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2018 October;54(5):690-7

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.18.04962-6

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The degree of arm elevation impacts the endurance and cardiopulmonary adaptations of COPD patients performing upper-limb exercise: a cross-over study

Mara PANERONI 1 , Carla SIMONELLI 1, Pierantonio LAVENEZIANA 2, 3, Massimiliano GOBBO 4, Manuela SALERI 1, Luca BIANCHI 1, Michele VITACCA 1

1 Istituti Clinici Maugeri, IRCCS, Pavia, Italy; 2 Division of Experimental and Clinical Respiratory Neurophysiology, Sorbonne University, Paris, France; 3 Pitié-Salpêtrière Charles Foix Hospital Group, Service des Explorations Fonctionnelles de la Respiration, de l’Exercice et de la Dyspnée (Département “R3S”, Pôle Pragues), Paris, France; 4 Department of Physiology, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy



BACKGROUND: In Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), upper limb exercise is widely recommended. However, how the degree of shoulder flexion may influence the exercise response is unknown.
AIM: We compared metabolic, ventilatory and symptomatic responses during constant-load supported and unsupported exercise performed at 80° and 120° arm elevation.
DESIGN: Randomized cross-over study.
SETTING: Pulmonary Pathophysiology Service in an Italian Respiratory Rehabilitative Division, in-patients were enrolled.
METHODS: Twelve patients with moderate-to-severe COPD (FEV1 51%, BMI 26.7 ± 6.3 Kg/m2) performed 4 symptom-limited constant-load tests at 70% of their individual maximal workload: 2 supported and 2 unsupported, respectively at 80° and 120° of glenohumeral joint flexion, executed in a random order.
RESULTS: Time to exhaustion (Tlim), evaluated by Kaplan-Maier curve, was shorter at 120° than 80° arm elevation in both supported (360 vs.. 486 seconds, p=0.031) and unsupported exercise (210 vs.. 375 seconds, p=0.005). No difference in dynamic hyperinflation was found between 80° and 120° elevation, even at the peak of exercise and at iso-ventilation. When normalized to Tlim, 120° arm elevation had a significantly higher metabolic cost, heart rate, minute ventilation and dyspnea/fatigue symptoms compared to 80° elevation, both in unsupported and supported conditions.
CONCLUSIONS: A larger shoulder flexion shortens per se exercise endurance due to the increased metabolic, ventilatory and cardiac response, without worsening dynamic hyperinflation.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Arm position should be considered when prescribing individual exercise training and may be adjusted to modulate the workload.


KEY WORDS: Exercise - Exercise test - Physical therapy modalities - Arm

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