The stress imposed by exercise is usually considered deleterious to patients with cardiopulmonary disorders. For this reason limitation of activity is often recommended for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, Barach and associates 1,2 have repeatedly reported a clinical observation similar to ours, that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who continue to be active remain in relatively better health for a longer period of time than their more sedentary counterparts. Such observations prompted the present study to assess the physiological responses to progressive exercise training.
Patients with severe obstructive pulmonary disease and evidence of generalized physical disability were selected for the study. Patients with manifestations of left ventricular disease were excluded. In addition, patients who developed either multiple premature ventricular contractions or marked cyanosis during exercise were not included in the study. These latter excluded patients, subsequently trained while breathing supplemental oxygen, will form the basis of