Research Study Abstract

Clinician-Facilitated Physical Activity Intervention Versus Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Improving Physical Activity in COPD: A Feasibility Study

  • Published on Sept. 5, 2018

Abstract: Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) may not suit all individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and may not result in increased physical activity. Higher levels of physical activity are associated with reduced mortality and morbidity. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of conducting a trial to investigate the effectiveness of a clinician-facilitated physical activity intervention (PAI) versus PR in improving physical activity in patients with COPD referred to PR. In this randomised controlled mixed methods feasibility study, all patients referred to PR who were eligible and willing were assessed at baseline and then randomised to the PAI or to PR. The assessments were repeated post-intervention and at 3-month follow-up. The main outcome was step count measured by Actigraph. Semi-structured interviews were conducted post-intervention. The N = 50 patients; mean (SD) age, 64.1(8.6) years, 24M were recruited and randomised; N = 23 (PAI) and n = 26 (PR): one patient was excluded from the analysis as that person did not meet the GOLD diagnostic criteria. Key feasibility criteria were met; recruitment was 11%, dropouts in PAI were 26% (n = 6) and 50% (n = 13/26) PR. Participants in both groups experienced a range of health benefits from their respective programmes. The PAI appears to be effective in increasing step counts in people with COPD: mean change (standard deviation) [confidence interval] for the PAI group was 972.0(3230.3)[–1080.3 to 3024.4], n = 12 and 4.3(662.7)[-440.9 to 449.5], n = 11 for the PR group. The PAI met all domains of fidelity. This study provides key information to inform a future-randomised controlled trial in physical activity.


  • Brenda O'Neill 1
  • Orlagh O'Shea 1
  • Suzanne McDonough 1,2
  • Lorcan McGarvey 3
  • Ian Bradbury 1
  • Madelynne Arden 4
  • Thierry Troosters 5
  • Denise Cosgrove 6
  • Terence McManus 7
  • Tim McDonnell 8
  • Judy Bradley 3


  • 1

    Centre for Health and Rehabilitation Technologies, Ulster University, Newtownabbey, UK

  • 2

    UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health, Northern Ireland, UK

  • 3

    Centre for Experimental Medicine, School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Biomedical Sciences, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK

  • 4

    Department of Psychology, Sociology, and Politics, Sheffield Hallam University, Heart of the Campus, Collegiate Crescent, Sheffield, UK

  • 5

    Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

  • 6

    Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network (Respiratory Health), Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast, UK

  • 7

    Department of Respiratory Medicine, Western Health and Social Care Trust, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, UK

  • 8

    Department of Respiratory Medicine, St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland


COPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease