A Novel Incremental Step Test as an Alternative for the Assessment of Exercise Capacity in Patients With COPD

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    Polytechnic Institute of Porto
Updated on 12 May 2021


According to the official guidelines of pulmonary rehabilitation, a structured home-based approach is recommended to answer to the inadequate number of pulmonary rehabilitation services due to the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patient's needs. For this new setting, new strategies for the assessment of exercise capacity and exercise training are essential. The modality of step can be a promising tool because it is inexpensive, portable, and reflects one of the main activities of daily living (stair climbing). The development of a new field test implies the study of the measurement properties, to facilitate the selection of tests and the interpretation of the results in rehabilitation. This project hypothesizes that the step test can be valid, reliable, and feasible to apply in this new setting of pulmonary rehabilitation.


The primary aim of this project is to develop and determine the measurement properties (validity and reliability) of a novel step test for the assessment of exercise capacity in patients with COPD.

The investigators will perform two cross-sectional studies for validity and reliability in patients with COPD. Participants attending a pneumology consultation at the hospital will be asked for permission to be contacted about the study. The participants who agree will be seen by the principal investigator who will explain the nature of the study and assess eligibility for the study. The participants will sign informed consent.

The validity study will be performed in two days (separated >48h). During the first session, the participants will perform the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) twice (a valid test for COPD). On the second day, the step test will be performed twice.

The reliability study will be performed in two days (separated for 7 days). On both days, the step test will be performed one time.

The investigators predict that 50 patients with COPD will be followed in each study (validity and reliability).

The investigators hypothesize that the step test can be a good option to apply in pulmonary rehabilitation programs with good measurement properties for the assessment of exercise capacity in COPD patients. The validation of the test can contribute to applying the step modality in the exercise training as an alternative for the prescription of the exercise intensity. For that, the investigators also hypothesize that the test can be reliable and one test must be enough for the assessment of the patients.

Condition Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Reactive Airway Disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd)
Treatment Performance of step test (number of steps) for the assessment of exercise capacity
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04715659
SponsorPolytechnic Institute of Porto
Last Modified on12 May 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Patients are eligible with a diagnose of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Exclusion Criteria

Patients will be excluded if they have a significant cardiac, immune, musculoskeletal or neurological impairment, or any other that does not allow them to perform the tests
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