Ventilatory and metabolic changes as a result of exercise training in COPD patients

A. Patessio, M. Carone, F. Ioli, C. F. Donner

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Patients with COPD feel better and are able to sustain a given level of activity longer after a program of exercise training, but the underlying physiologic mechanisms have not been completely elucidated. Since the physical performance of patients with COPD is limited mainly by pathophysiologic derangements of the ventilatory system, the exercise performance can be ameliorated by increasing the level of ventilation that they can sustain or by reducing the ventilatory requirement for a given level of activity. Almost all studies have yielded negative results in patients with COPD in terms of exercise training having the ability to improve V̇Emax. The only way to reduce the ventilatory requirement is to reduce CO2 output. Lower levels of lactate result in less nonmetabolic CO2 produced by bicarbonate buffering and this is the likely mechanism responsible for a lower ventilatory requirement for work rates above the pretraining anaerobic threshold. We specifically wished to determine whether a program of intensity, frequency, and duration known capable of producing a physiologic training effect in healthy subjects would do so in patients with COPD. Further, we sought to determine whether exercise training at a work rate associated with lactic acidosis is more effective in inducing a training effect in patients with COPD than a work rate not associated with lactic acidosis. Nineteen patients with COPD were selected and performed an incremental test as well as 2 square wave tests at a low and a high work rate. Identical tests were performed after an 8-week program of cycle ergometer training either for 45 min/day at a high work rate or for a proportionally longer time at a low work rate. For the high work rate training group, identical work rates engendered less lactate (4.5 vs 7.2 mEq/L) and less V̇E (48 vs 55 L/min) after training; the low work rate training group had significantly less lactate and V̇E decrease (p

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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