Quality of life and exercise tolerance in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: effects of a short and intensive inpatient rehabilitation program

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1999 Jul-Aug;78(4):330-5. doi: 10.1097/00002060-199907000-00007.


The quality of life and the exercise endurance of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are impaired. The aim of our study was to determine the impact of a 3-wk intensive inpatient rehabilitation program on the quality of life of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and to examine the correlation between quality-of-life measures and physiologic measures throughout rehabilitation. Thirty-two patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (20 men, 12 women) were evaluated by spirometry and maximal exercise testing for exercise endurance and by the French version of the Nottingham Health Profile for quality of life. Rehabilitation components were individualized exercise at ventilatory threshold (4 hr/day), health education, and physical therapy and relaxation for 3 wk. Our results showed an improvement in the quality of life (especially in physical mobility, energy, and social isolation) and exercise endurance (increase of 14% of maximal power and symptom-limited oxygen uptake). In contrast, no significant correlations were found between the quality of life and physiologic parameters (gas exchange, cardiovascular and lung function parameters) throughout rehabilitation. Changes in the quality of life seem to be independent of the physiologic results during the course of a short and intensive inpatient rehabilitation program. Quality of life should, therefore, be more systematically evaluated to determine the psychosocial benefits, which, although subjective, are important for encouraging patients' compliance with rehabilitation programs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / psychology
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Statistics, Nonparametric