Lung volume reduction surgery does not increase daily physical activity in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Noriane A. Sievi, Daniel Franzen, Malcolm Kohler, Christian F. Clarenbach


Background: Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) is a treatment option for selected patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. The positive effects of LVRS on exercise capacity are well known. In contrast, the effect of LVRS on daily physical activity (PA) is less clear.
Methods: In a prospective case-control study we evaluated selected patients with severe COPD and emphysema who underwent LVRS and COPD patients following usual care. Controls were matched for age, severity of airflow obstruction (FEV1) and hyperinflation [residual volume to total lung capacity (RV/TLC)]. Treatment effect of LVRS on activity parameters was analysed using univariable regression model adjusting for treatment group.
Results: A total of 19 patients underwent LVRS and 16 COPD patients without a surgical intervention during the study period were included. The median (quartile) FEV1%pred was 28% (range, 21–33%), RV/TLC was 69% (range, 64–73%) in cases while controls had a median (quartile) FEV1%pred of 33% (range, 28.5–49.5%) and a RV/TLC of 58% (range, 49–61%). Age and body mass index (BMI) were comparable between both groups. Number of steps per day following LVRS was comparable to before the intervention (mean change: −115, 95% CI: −994.6 to 764.3, P=0.779) and was not significantly different to the change in control subjects (mean treatment effect: 931.4, 95% CI: −252.4 to 2,115.1, P=0.117).
Conclusions: The results from this study reveal that patients undergoing LVRS did not increase their daily level of PA despite improvement of exercise capacity and symptoms.