Although weight loss suggests poor prognosis of COPD, only a few studies have examined total energy expenditure (TEE) or physical activity level (PAL) using the doubly labelled water (DLW) method. We evaluated TEE and PAL using the DLW method together with a triaxial accelerometer to elucidate the relationships between TEE, PAL and clinical parameters leading to a practical means of monitoring COPD physical status. This study evaluated 50-to 79-year-old male patients with mild to very severe COPD (n=28) or at risk for COPD (n=8). TEE, activity energy expenditure for 2 weeks and basal metabolic rate were measured by DLW, an accelerometer and indirect calorimetry, respectively. All patients underwent pulmonary function, chest-computed tomography, 6-min walk test, body composition and grip strength tests. Relationships between indices of energy expenditure and clinical parameters were analysed. Bland–Altman analysis was used to examine the agreement of TEE and PAL between the DLW method and the accelerometer. TEE and PAL using DLW in the total population were 2273±445 kcal·day−1 and 1.80±0.20, respectively. TEE by DLW correlated well with that from the accelerometer and grip strength (p<0.0001), and PAL by DLW correlated well with that from the accelerometer (p<0.0001), grip strength and 6-min walk distance (p<0.001) among various clinical parameters. However, the accelerometer underestimated TEE (215±241 kcal·day−1) and PAL (0.18±0.16), with proportional biases in both indices. TEE and PAL can be estimated by accelerometer in patients with COPD if systematic errors and relevant clinical factors such as muscle strength and exercise capacity are accounted for.
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