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Impact of fan therapy during exercise on breathlessness and recovery time in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pilot randomised controlled crossover trial

Long, A., Cartwright, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-3404-5659 & Reilly, C. (2021). Impact of fan therapy during exercise on breathlessness and recovery time in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pilot randomised controlled crossover trial. European Respiratory Journal, doi: 10.1183/23120541.00211-2021

Abstract

Background: Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) reduce physical activity to avoid the onset of breathlessness. Fan therapy (FT) can reduce breathlessness at rest, but the efficacy of FT during exercise remains unknown.

Aim: To investigate 1) the effect of FT on exercise-induced breathlessness and post-exercise recovery time, 2) the acceptability of FT d 3) the reproducibility of any observed improvements.

Methods: A pilot single-centre randomised controlled crossover, open trial of FT vs no FT during 6-minute walk test (6MWT) in patients with COPD and a Modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) dyspnoea score ≥ 2. Breathlessness intensity was quantified pre and on termination of the 6MWT, using the numerical rating scale (NRS). Post-exertional recovery time was defined as the time taken to return to baseline NRS breathlessness score.

Results: Fourteen patients completed the trial per protocol (4 = male, 10 = female; median age (interquartile range) = 66.50 (60.75 -73.5) years); mMRC dyspoena 3 (2-3)). Fan therapy resulted in lower exercise-induced breathlessness (∆ NRS; ∆ mBORG) [within-individual differences in medians (WIDiM) = -1.0, IQR = -2.00 to -0.50, p<0.01; WIDiM = -0.25, IQR = -2.00 to 0.00, p = 0.02], greater distance walked (metres) [WIDiM = 21.25, IQR = 12.75 to 31.88, p <0.01], and improved post-exertional breathlessness recovery time [WIDiM = -10.00, IQR = -78.75 to 50.00, p<0.01.Fan therapy was deemed to be acceptable by 92% of participants.

Conclusion: Fan therapy was acceptable and provided symptomatic relief to patients with COPD during exercise.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright ©The authors 2021. This version is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Licence 4.0.
Publisher Keywords: dyspnea, breathlessness perception, COPD course and therapy, physiotherapy
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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