BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The role of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) during exercise training (ET) in patients with chronic respiratory failure (CRF) is still unclear. The aim of this study was to test whether NIV during ET had an additional effect in increasing the 6-min walking distance (6MWD) and cycle endurance time compared with ET alone.
METHODS: All patients underwent 20 sessions of cycle training over 3 weeks and were randomly assigned to ET with NIV or ET alone. Outcome measures were 6MWD (primary outcome), incremental and endurance cycle ergometer exercise time, respiratory muscle function, quality of life by the Maugeri Respiratory Failure questionnaire (MRF-28), dyspnoea (Medical Research Council scale) and leg fatigue at rest.
RESULTS: Forty-two patients completed the study. Following training, no significant difference in 6MWD changes were found between groups. Improvement in endurance time was significantly greater in the NIV group compared with the non-NIV training group (754 ± 973 vs 51 ± 406 s, P = 0.0271); dyspnoea improved in both groups, while respiratory muscle function and leg fatigue improved only in the NIV ET group. MRF-28 improved only in the group training without NIV.
CONCLUSION: In CRF patients on long-term NIV and long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT), the addition of NIV to ET sessions resulted in an improvement in endurance time, but not in 6MWD.