Survey of exercise testing and training in cystic fibrosis clinics in the UK: a decade of progress

Owen William Tomlinson, Zoe l. Saynor, Daniel Stevens, Joe Antoun, Don S. Urquhart, Craig Anthony Williams

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Objectives: Regular exercise testing is recommended for people with cystic fibrosis (pwCF), as is the provision and regular review of exercise training programmes. A previous survey on exercise testing and training for pwCF in the UK was conducted over a decade ago. With the landscape of CF changing considerably during this time, this survey aimed to evaluate UK-based exercise testing and training practices for pwCF a decade on.

Design: Cross-sectional, online survey.

Participants: A survey was distributed electronically to UK CF clinics and completed by the individual primarily responsible for exercise services. Descriptive statistics and qualitative analyses were undertaken.

Results: In total, 31 CF centres participated, representing ~50% of UK specialist clinics. Of these, 94% reported using exercise testing, 48% of which primarily use cardiopulmonary exercise testing. Exercise testing mostly occurs at annual review (93%) and is most often conducted by physiotherapists (62%). A wide variation in protocols, exercise modalities, normative reference values and cut-offs for exercise-induced desaturation are currently used. All centres reportedly discuss exercise training with pwCF; 94% at every clinic appointment. However, only 52% of centres reportedly use exercise testing to inform individualised exercise training. Physiotherapists typically lead discussions around exercise training (74%).

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that the majority of respondent centres in the UK now offer some exercise testing and training advice for pwCF, representing a marked improvement over the past decade. However, continued efforts are now needed to standardise exercise practices, particularly regarding field testing practices and the translation of test results into personalised training programmes for pwCF.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere072461
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2023

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