Effectiveness of a 4-week rehabilitation program on endothelial function, blood vessel elasticity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Botond Szucs, Mate Petrekanits, Janos Varga


Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may have considerable cardiovascular risk. Physical activity has a paramount role in COPD treatment. Our aim was to evaluate the applicability of arteriograph in COPD and measure the effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation on endothelial function.
Methods: A total of 40 patients with COPD (FEV1: 45.43±20.20%pred, BMI: 27.99±6.98 kg/m2, male: female was 21:19, age: 65.47±7.39 years) participated in a 4-week rehabilitation program. We used a patented, invasively validated Arteriograph. Blood pressure, pulse, augmentation index (AIX), pulse wave velocity (PWV), diastolic area index (DAI) were registered with functional measurements in pulmonary rehabilitation.
Results: Pulmonary rehabilitation was effective in 6 minutes walking distance (6MWD: 335.32±110.43 vs. 398.32±126.21 m), maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP: 57.72±22.69 vs. 63.63±18.01 cmH2O), chest wall expansion (CWE: 2.84±1.26 vs. 4.00±1.76 cm), breath holding time (BHT: 25.77±10.63 to 29.21±11.60 sec) and grip strength (GS: 24.87±11.88 vs. 27.03±11.43 kg) (P<0.05). Improvement in quality of life was monitored by COPD assessment test marker (CAT: 17.00±8.49 vs. 11.89±7.31, P<0.05). Systolic (133.38±22.15 vs. 126.48±20.22 mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure (76.95±14.37 vs. 75.4±12.7 mmHg) showed a reduction tendency. Pulse also decreased (76.95±14.37 vs. 72.53±13.65 bpm). AIX levels showed slight improvement (3.54±35.59% vs. 2.93±30.79%); 23 patients peripheral circulation progressed. The PWV data showed abnormal elasticity with minimal change (11.74±2.13 vs. 11.4±2.73 m/s); although 20 patients showed improvement. DAI detected slightly diminished coronary circulation with moderate improvement (43.32±6.81 vs. 47.1±7.01 m/s).
Conclusions: Elevated arterial stiffness, high PWV turned the COPD patients to the high/very high-risk cluster. Rehabilitation resulted significant improvement in MIP, CWE, BHT, 6MWD, CAT with mild, but favorable changes in blood pressure, pulse, AIX, PWV. As a consequence of the four weeks rehabilitation period overall quality of life improved and cardiovascular risk showed a reduction tendency in COPD.