Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in India. Drug treatment alone does not optimize therapy. Pulmonary rehabilitation has been found to improve the physical efficiency of COPD patients. Therefore, we evaluated the effect of domiciliary pulmonary rehabilitation programme in patients of COPD.
Methods: Forty patients of stable COPD having severe airflow obstruction were included in the study. They were divided into control and experimental groups randomly. Rehabilitation included walking, breathing exercises, postural drainage, controlled coughing and changes in life style activities. Exercises of 30 minutes duration were performed at home twice daily for four weeks supervision. Six-minute walking distance, forced expiratory volume in one seocond (FEV1) and various indices of chronic respiratory disease questionnaire (CRDQ) were measured in both experimental and control groups before and after completion of the study.
Results: In the experimental group, after four weeks, the mean (+/- SD) difference in six-minute walking distance, dyspnoea, mastery, fatigue and emotion scores were 54.2 (26.7) meters, 0.96 (0.26), 0.89 (0.44), 0.90 (0.40) and 0.91 (0.32) respectively. Changes in all these parameters were statistically significant (p < 0.001) as compared to the control group. There was no significant change in FEV1.
Conclusion: It was concluded that domiciliary pulmonary rehabilitation for four weeks results in significant improvement in the quality of life and exercise tolerance, even without improvement in FEV1.