PURPOSE: This study aimed to provide supporting data for the clinical use of breathing exercise with a WBV stimulation as a sustained and safe intervention program, by examining the effect of breathing exercise with WBV stimulation on the pulmonary function, gait ability, and life quality in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), who have difficulty performing exercise.
METHODS: For this study, after collecting the samples from 20 patients with severe COPD, they were placed randomly in an experimental group to perform breathing exercises with a WBV stimulation (n = 10) and a control group to perform breathing exercises only (n=10). Before the intervention, pulmonary function, six-minute gait distance and health-related life quality were measured as pre-tests.
After applying the intervention program to the patients for 30 minutes once a day, for four days a week, for six weeks, the post-test items were remeasured in the same way as the pre-tests, and the results were analyzed.
RESULTS: In the within-group comparison, both the experimental and control groups showed significant differences in the forced expiratory volume in one second, six-minute gait distance, and health-related life quality (p < .01) (p < .05). In the intergroup comparison, there were significant differences in the forced expiratory volume in one second and the six-minute gait distance (p < .05).
CONCLUSION: WBV stimulation was more effective for the patients by improving the muscular strength and muscular endurance through the reflexive contraction of muscles, and increasing the exercise tolerance. This result could serve as an alternative means to clinically improve the physical function of patients with severe COPD, who have difficulty performing breathing exercises in the future.