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Telemonitoring of bike exercise training in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea

BACKGROUND: Patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) suffer from daytime sleepiness, cognitive disorders and are at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. In addition to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), major lifestyle changes to increase physical activity contribute to risk reduction. The daily training duration should be at least 20 minutes to achieve a relevant effect. In addition to exercise training in groups, home training is useful. However, sufficiently intensive training is often not performed because of unavailable feedback (monitoring). It is not clear yet how many patients accept a bicycle home training and to what extent they meet the specified training time.

METHOD: Of the 152 consecutive OSA patients surveyed, 74 (48.7 %) agreed to a 4-week home exercise bike training. After exclusion of 51 patients, 17 for logistical reasons, and 34 because of severe comorbidities, 23 patients remained (age 51.0 +/- 9.3 years, BMI 33.7 +/- 4.2, ESS score 10.4 +/- 6.7, AHI 33.8 +/- 24.0). The daily duration of training at the ventilatory threshold (VT1) was recorded and transmitted by a wireless module (Cinterion) via Internet to a doctor or instructor.

RESULTS: The patients exercised during 27.3 +/- 2.9 days. 19 of the 23 patients (83 %) accomplished the training period of > 20 minutes per day. In 4 patients (17 %) the training time was well below this target level with 5.9 +/- 2.3 min. The average training time of all patients was 24.4 +/- 9.0 min.

CONCLUSION: About 50 % of the OSA patients are interested in a regular physical exercise bike training with telemonitoring, and are performing it quite constantly. The described method of telemonitoring provides a simple and, compared to group training cost-effective way to reduce cardiovascular risk in OSA.

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