Background Assessment of functional capacity is important in directing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) care (e.g., rehabilitation and discharge readiness), and in predicting outcomes (e.g., exacerbation, hospitalization, and mortality). The 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) test for functional capacity assessment, may be time-consuming and burdensome. Objective The purpose of the current study was to evaluate an upper-extremity function (UEF) test for assessing functional capacity in older adults with COPD. Methods In this cross-sectional study, 49 older adults (≥55 years) with diagnosed COPD were recruited, and pulmonary function measures and 6MWD were obtained. Participants wore wireless sensors on forearm and upper-arm and performed rapid elbow flexion for 20 seconds (the UEF test). Slowness was assessed by measuring elbow speed, and acceleration and weakness (muscle strength) were assessed by measuring power of movement and elbow moment. Results Speed, power, and moment UEF parameters were independently associated with 6MWD, when controlling for age, gender, and body mass index (BMI) (r = 0.78, p < .001). Elbow moment showed significant Pearson correlations with all pulmonary function measures and maximal inspiratory/expiratory pressure measures (r = 0.35-0.69, p<0.02). Conclusions Results show promise of a quick upper-extremity measure of functional capacity in patients with COPD, and as an outcome measure in clinical COPD trials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)