The effects of a brief physiotherapist-led intervention in primary care on physical activity levels in people with COPD

L. Pagano, Z. McKeough, S. Wootton, D. Pallavicini, A. Chan, S. Mahadev, N. Zwar, S. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Introduction/Aim: The aim of this study was to determine if a brief intervention delivered by physiotherapists in primary care can increase physical activity (PA) levels in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods: Four general practices participated. ‘At risk’ participants (aged >40 years, current/ex-smoker) and people with ‘existing’ COPD were invited to attend an assessment with a cardiorespiratory physiotherapist at the practice. Pre/post-bronchodilator spirometry was performed to identify or confirm a diagnosis of COPD (FEV1/FVC < 0.7). At baseline, those with confirmed obstruction received one-off PA advice, a pedometer and diary to monitor daily steps. Participants were reviewed at 1 month to set step goals and a progression plan. A final review was completed at 3 months. Self-reported PA levels were obtained from the Active Australia Questionnaire at baseline and 3 months. Average daily step count and goal compliance were assessed.

Results: 31 participants with airflow obstruction (mean age 75 yrs (SD 9.3), mean FEV1% pred = 74% (SD 7.9), 61% female) received the intervention. At baseline, the majority of participants indicated they were meeting PA guidelines (n = 21, 87%) which decreased to 19 participants (79%) at 3 months. There was no significant change in average daily step count at 3 months compared to baseline (6180 (±3785) to 5916 (±3203) steps (95%CI: −767 to 1549, p = 0.50) however, participants recorded a higher ‘optimal’ daily step count (mean change 319 steps (95%CI: −196 to 835, p = 0.21). Participant compliance with weekly step goals decreased from 90% at Week 5 to 50% at 3 months.

Conclusion: A brief PA intervention in people with COPD identified in a primary care setting was insufficient to increase PA levels. Alternative methods of improving PA in people with COPD in primary care need to be explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-84
Number of pages1
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2022


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