Background: The purpose of the study was to determine in a prospective randomized trial the independent short-term physiologic impact of reduction pneumoplasty (RP) on respiratory rehabilitation (RR).
Methods: Sixty patients eligible for RP were randomly selected by computer to receive either RP (n = 30) or comprehensive RR (n = 30). Pulmonary function tests, analysis of blood gas levels, measurement of respiratory muscle strength (maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures), 6-minute walk test (6MWT), and incremental treadmill test (ITT), were performed at baseline and at 3 and 6 months.
Results: Two treatment-related deaths occurred after RP and one after RR. At 6 months dyspnea index, maximal inspiratory pressure, 6MWT, ITT, and PaO2 were significantly improved in both groups whereas forced expiratory volume in 1 second and residual volume were significantly improved only in the surgical arm. In addition at 6 months, dyspnea index, 6MWT, maximal ITT, and PaO2 improved significantly more after RP than after RR.
Conclusions: In our study short-term improvements in dyspnea index, oxygenation, inspiratory muscle strength, and exercise capacity occurred after either RP and RR. However dyspnea index, PaO2, and exercise capacity improved more after RP than after RR whereas pulmonary function improved only after RP.