David Au, MD, MS: Lifestyle Interventions for Weight Loss in Obese Patients with COPD

Dr. Au spoke of how the new data provides an opportunity to think about how lifestyle intervention focused on weight and moderate exercise can actually have meaningful impacts on patients with COPD.

A new self-guided video-based lifestyle intervention led to improvements in exercise capacity, dyspnea, and weight loss in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who were overweight or obese.

The data were presented today at the American Thoracic Society 2022 International Conference in San Francisco.

In an interview with HCPLive, study author David Au, MD, MS, from the Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, noted the lack of lifestyle interventions associated with COPD.

He spoke of a patient with COPD he treated who, after losing significant weight due to lifestyle changes, no longer experienced shortness of breath and did not rely on medications.

“That made me think about, of studying (COPD) on a systematic basis, and really trying to ask the question about whether or not a lifestyle intervention in and of itself would actually benefit patients who had symptoms, and who were otherwise being fully treated for COPD,” Au said.

As such, Au and colleagues conducted INSIGHT, a pragmatic intervention trial that evaluated whether or not self-directed virtual lifestyle intervention would improve the quality of life and functional outcomes of 684 patients with COPD who were overweight or obese.

They determined whether this intervention improved participant 6-minute walk test distance, dyspnea and participant weight compared to usual care alone, with additional secondary outcomes including cardiovascular risk factors, and generic and condition specific quality of life.

Overall, the intervention appeared to reduce the rate of exercise loss among these patients, with modest improvements in exercise capacity, dyspnea, and weight loss

Au added that, by and large, pulmonologists have focused on medications to improve both quality of life and ameliorate exacerbation risk in patients COPD, in addition to other interventions such as lung transplantation. However, he felt that this data could provide pulmonologists with new possibilities in COPD mitigation.

“This provides an opportunity to think about a patient as a whole and think about how lifestyle intervention that's really kind of focused on weight and moderate exercise improvement can actually have meaningful impacts on patients well-being,” Au said.

Watch the full interview with Dr. Au above, and click here for more news from ATS 2022.