BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Walking aids, such as rollator or draisine, improve mobility and functional exercise performance in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during an indoor 6-min walk test. However, this test does not reflect everyday walking, which is the most frequently reported problematic activity of daily life in individuals with COPD. To date, efficacy of walking aids during self-paced outdoor walking remains unknown. Therefore, we aimed to determine the efficacy of a rollator and draisine on self-paced outdoor walking in individuals with COPD. METHODS: Fifteen individuals with COPD (68% men; age: 63 +/- 8 years; forced expiratory volume in 1 s: 40 +/- 14% predicted) performed three self-paced outdoor walking tests on two consecutive days: test 1 unaided, and tests 2 and 3 with rollator or draisine in random order. Participants had to walk as long as possible at their own pace. The test ended when participants needed to stop, with a maximum duration of 30 min. RESULTS: The use of rollator resulted in the highest walk distance and time (P < 0.05 vs unaided and draisine). Furthermore, individuals with COPD walked significantly further and longer during an unaided test compared with a draisine aided test (P < 0.05). Moreover, use of draisine resulted in a significantly higher walking speed, fewer strides, greater stride length, and higher step and stride variability (P < 0.05 vs unaided and rollator). CONCLUSION: To conclude, a rollator improves the self-paced outdoor walk distance and time in individuals with moderate and advanced COPD and a poor functional exercise capacity, whereas the use of a draisine had a detrimental effect compared with unaided walking.
Vaes, A. W., Meijer, K., Delbressine, J. M., Wiechert, J., Willems, P., Wouters, E. F. M., Franssen, F. M. E., & Spruit, M. A. (2015). Efficacy of walking aids on self-paced outdoor walking in individuals with COPD: A randomized cross-over trial. Respirology, 20(6), 932-939. https://doi.org/10.1111/resp.12570