Breathing retraining and exercise conditioning in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): A physiological approach

F. Gigliotti, I. Romagnoli, Giorgio Scano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this review we shall consider the commonest techniques to reduce dyspnea that are being applied to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) subjected to a pulmonary rehabilitation program (PRP). Pursed lip breathing (PLB) and diaphragmatic breathing (DB) are breathing retraining strategies employed by COPD patients in order to relieve and control dyspnea, However, the effectiveness of PLB in reducing dyspnoea is controversial. Moreover, DB may be associated with asynchronous and paradoxical breathing movements, reflecting a decrease in the efficiency of the diaphragm. Exercise training (EXT) is a mandatory component of PRP. EXT has been shown to improve exercise performances and peripheral muscle strength. Recent studies have focused on the effect of EXT on breathlessness. However, concerns persist as to whether the decreased sensation of dyspnea for a given exercise stimulus is principally due to psychological benefits of rehabilitation or to improved physiological ability to perform exercise. The effect of EXT on breathlessness may be reinforced by inhaling oxygen. However, two studies have recently shown that breathing supplemental oxygen during training has either a marginal effect or no advantage over training. In a comprehensive PRP, strength training (ST) and arm endurance training (AET) could have a role in decreasing peripheral muscle weakness and metabolic and ventilatory requirements for AET. The role of unloading the respiratory muscles during EXT has to be clarified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Volume97
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003

Keywords

  • COPD
  • Dyspnea
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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