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Creatine supplementation as an exercise performance enhancer for patients with COPD? An idea to run with
  1. T L Griffiths1,
  2. D Proud2
  1. 1Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff University, Llandough Hospital, Penarth CF64 2XX, UK
  2. 2Pulmonary Rehabilitation Unit, Llandough Hospital, Penarth CF64 2XX, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr T L Griffiths
    Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff University, Llandough Hospital, Penarth, CF64 2XX, UK;

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Creatine supplementation may enhance pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with COPD, but larger trials are needed

Multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation now has an established place in the management of chronic disabling respiratory diseases, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).1 Rehabilitation is being taken up widely on the strength of the accumulated evidence. While the effectiveness of rehabilitation is accepted, there is still considerable interest in refining and researching the individual modalities of treatment that make up the multidisciplinary intervention.

Exercise training is a key component of an effective pulmonary rehabilitation programme. In recent years a number of approaches have been taken in an effort to enhance the effectiveness of physical training, particularly for more severely disabled patients who may have reduced muscle bulk and whose baseline exercise capacity is particularly low. Broadly, strategies have either concentrated on acute interventions that enable subjects to train at higher intensity or have focused on altering underlying skeletal muscle functioning. An example of the former approach is the inclusion of oxygen supplementation during training in patients with hypoxaemia.2,3 Acute oxygen supplementation does enhance exercise performance and allows a higher work output for training. However, its use in training programmes has not been found to improve the overall outcomes of rehabilitation. Taking the alternative approach, attempts to restore muscle function have seen a crossover of techniques used for performance enhancement in sport and other areas of medicine. These interventions have included nutritional supplementation,4 the use of anabolic steroids,5 and the use of growth hormone.6 These kinds of intervention do increase muscle bulk but do not tend to produce beneficial gains in terms of whole body exercise and patient based outcomes in patients disabled by COPD and low muscle mass.

The underlying causes of …

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