A study sought to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of an upper-extremity frailty meter (FM) in identifying digital measures of functional performance and assessing frailty in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. The results appeared in Gerontology.

“An early detection of impaired functional performance is critical to enhance symptom management for patients with COPD. However, conventional functional measures based on walking assessments are often impractical for small clinics where the available space to administrate gait-based test is limited,” the researchers wrote.

This study consisted of 48 patients with COPD (average age, 68 years), and 49 controls (average age, 70 years). All study subjects performed a 20 second repetitive elbow flexion-extension test using a wrist-worn FM sensor. Functional performance was analyzed by FM metrics, including speed (slowness), range of motion (rigidity), power (weakness), flexion and extension time (slowness), as well as speed and power reduction (exhaustion).

The results showed that compared to controls, COPD patients showed worse performances in all conventional functional assessments (P <0.010), and all FM metrics (P <0.050). Overall, FM metrics efficiently identified COPD patients with pre-frailty and frailty (P <0.050).

The researchers concluded that, “Future studies are encouraged to use the FM to quantitatively monitor the progressive decline in functional performance and quantify outcomes of rehabilitation interventions.”

Keywords:  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Frailty phenotypes, Functional performance, Upper-extremity frailty meter, Wearable technology


Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34844245/