Effect of physical training on airway inflammation in bronchial asthma: a systematic review
OBJECTIVE To determine if asthmatic patients who had participated in a 10-week rehabilitation program with emphasis on physical training (1) continued with physical training, (2) maintained their improved cardiovascular condition and lung function, and (3) retained their good asthma control through the following 3 years. DESIGN A descriptive 3-year follow-up study. PATIENTS AND SETTING A convenience sample of 58 patients who had previously undergone a 10-week outpatient rehabilitation program were followed up 6 months and 1, 1.5, 2, and 3 years after the start of the program at a lung clinic in a university hospital. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES A training log was kept by each patient to record frequency, intensity, and mode of training. Physical condition was evaluated with a submaximal 6-minute ergometry test and a 12-minute walking test, respiratory function with static and dynamic spirometry, and bronchial hyperreactivity with a metacholine provocation test. Asthma symptoms and asthma control were measured with a study-specific questionnaire. RESULTS Thirty-nine subjects (68%) exercised regularly during all 3 years. The cardiovascular condition and lung function values remained almost unchanged in all 58 patients. There was a significant decrease in number of emergency room visits the year after the 10-week rehabilitation program compared to the year before. It remained stable throughout the following 2 years. There was also a decrease in asthma symptoms in all patients, but the decrease was significant only in a subgroup of 26 patients, who exercised one or two times a week. CONCLUSIONS It is possible for asthmatic subjects to exercise at a moderate intensity level on a long-term basis without deleterious effects. Moreover, the high compliance rate might indicate that inactive asthmatic patients who are taught how to exercise choose to continue to be physically active.