BACKGROUND: Measurements of Energy Expenditure (EE) at rest (REE) and during physical activities are increasing in interest in chronic patients. In this study we aimed at evaluating the validity/reliability of the SenseWear®Armband (SWA) device in terms of REE and EE during assisted walking in Chronic Respiratory Failure (CRF) patients receiving long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In a two-phase prospective protocol we studied 40 severe patients and 35 age-matched healthy controls. In phase-1 we determined the validity and repeatability of REE measured by SWA (REEa) in comparison with standard calorimetry (REEc). In phase-2 we then assessed EE and Metabolic Equivalents-METs by SWA during the 6-minute walking test while breathing oxygen in both assisted (Aid) or unassisted (No-Aid) modalities. When compared with REEc, REEa was slightly lower in patients (1351±169 vs 1413±194 kcal/day respectively, p<0.05), and less repeatable than in healthy controls (0.14 and 0.43 coefficient respectively). COPD patients with CRF patients reported a significant gain with Aid as compared with No-Aid modality in terms of meters walked, perceived symptoms and EE. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: SWA provides a feasible and valid method to assess the energy expenditure in CRF patients on LTOT, and it shows that aided walking results in a substantial energy saving in this population.
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