Prescribing cycle training intensity from the six-minute walk test for patients with COPD.

Zainuldin M, Knoke D, Mackey M, Luxton N, Alison J

Background: Cycle intensity training for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is normally based on an incremental cycle test. Such tests are expensive and not readily available to clinicians. The six-minute walk test (6MWT) has been proposed as an alternative, based on the findings of previous research that the peak oxygen consumption (VO2 peak) for the incremental cycle test and 6MWT was equivalent in participants with COPD.

Method: 35 participants with stable COPD will be recruited from referrals to pulmonary rehabilitation. The 6MWT will be used to calculate peak work rate (Wpeak) for cycle exercise. After 30 minutes rest, subjects will perform 10 minutes of constant load cycle exercise at 60% of the calculated Wpeak. During exercise dyspnoea and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) will be recorded.

Discussion: This novel study will measure the physiological response to cycle exercise, in terms of V02 peak, performed at an intensity determined from the 6MWT in participants with COPD. Positive findings will enable clinicians to more precisely prescribe cycle training intensity by utilising a simple, reliable and inexpensive 6MWT, thus providing a better standard of care for patients with COPD referred to pulmonary rehabilitation.

BMJ, 2007, 7:9

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