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van Gestel, A J R; Kohler, M; Steier, J; Sommerwerck, U; Teschler, Sebastian; Russi, Erich W; Teschler, H (2012). Cardiac Autonomic Function and Cardiovascular Response to Exercise in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), 9(2):160-165.

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Abstract Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with impaired exercise tolerance, but it has not been established to what extent cardiac autonomic function impacts on exercise capacity. Objective: To evaluate whether there is an association between airflow limitation and cardiac autonomic function and whether cardiac autonomic function plays a role in exercise intolerance and daily physical activity (PA) in patients with COPD. Methods: Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to evaluate the association between both 6-minute walking test (6MWT) and PA (steps per day) and pulmonary function, cardiac autonomic function (HR at rest, HRR and heart rate variability, HRV) in patients with COPD. Results: In 154 COPD patients (87 females, mean [SD]: age 62.5 [10.7] years, FEV(1)%predicted (43.0 [19.2]%), mean HR at rest was elevated (86.4 [16.4] beats/min) and HRV was reduced (33.69 [28.96] ms) compared to published control data. There was a significant correlation between FEV(1) and HR at rest (r = -0.32, p < 0.001), between HR at rest and 6MWD (r = -0.26, p = 0.001) and between HR at rest and PA (r = -0.29, p = 0.010). No correlation was found between HRV and 6MWD (r = 0.089, p = 0.262) and PA (r = 0.075, p = 0.322). In multivariate analysis both HR and FEV(1) were independent predictors of exercise capacity in patients with COPD. Conclusions: In patients with COPD the degree of airflow limitation is associated with HR at rest. The degree of airflow limitation and cardiac autonomic function, as quantified by HR at rest, are independently associated with exercise capacity in patients with COPD.


9 citations in Web of Science®
8 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Pneumology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Deposited On:02 Apr 2012 10:59
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:34
Publisher:Informa Healthcare
Publisher DOI:10.3109/15412555.2011.647130
PubMed ID:22276986

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