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Revista americana de medicina respiratoria

On-line version ISSN 1852-236X


BUSTAMANTE, L et al. Discrimination of exercise limitation in submaximal and maximal exercise tests in severe COPD patients. Rev. amer. med. respiratoria [online]. 2011, vol.11, n.1, pp.18-23. ISSN 1852-236X.

There are no data about symptoms of activity limitation in COPD patients when maximal and submaximal exercise tests are compared. Objective: To compare the activity limitation by dyspnea or fatigue between maximal and submaximal exercise tests. Methods: Moderate and severe COPD patients were included (GOLD definition). They were classified as fatigue limited (FL) if Borg scale of fatigue at maximal exercise was ≥ 2 points vs. dyspnea; and dyspnea limited (DL) if it was the reverse. Each patient was evaluated in the same way with submaximal cycloergometry. Results: 15 patients in the LD group and 18 patients in the LF group were evaluated. The LF patients were mainly women (FL 55.5 vs. DL 26.6% p: 0.034), had a low body-mass index (FL 24.1 ± 3.2 vs. DL 26.8 ± 2.1; p<0.04) and less airway obstruction (FL 47 ± 13.8% vs. DL 34.5 ± 11.1%, p<0.047). Maximal and submaximal tests were concordant in FL patients (Borg 2.8 ± 2; 2.5 ± 2.2, p=NS), but not in DL patients (Borg 5.7 ± 2.1; 3.3 ± 1.6, p=0.014). Conclusions: FL COPD patients had less airway obstruction and body-mass index. In FL patients both tests were concordant. The submaximal exercise tests are specific but they have low sensitivity to determine the cause of symptom limitation.

Keywords : COPD; Exercise test; Dyspnea; Fatigue; Limitation.

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