Study objectives: Although the benefit of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has been demonstrated for patients with COPD, the benefit for patients with non-COPD lung disorders is still unclear. In the present study, we compared the effect of PR on patients with post-tuberculosis (TBC) lung disorders and patients with COPD.
Design: We performed a prospective nonrandomized open trial over a 9-week period.
Patients and methods: Thirty-two patients with post-TBC lung disorders (thoracoplasty, 25 patients; mean [+/- SD] age, 71 +/- 5 years; FEV(1), 0.84 +/- 0.29 L) and 32 age-matched and FEV(1)-matched COPD patients were enrolled in the study. First, we compared the exercise tolerance between groups using a 6-min walking test. Next, we trained the patients using a 9-week outpatient PR program. We assessed improvement using clinical dyspnea ratings, a daily activity score, and the results of a 6-min walking test.
Results: When age and FEV(1) were matched, the distance covered during the 6-min walking test did not differ between the groups. After rehabilitation, significant improvement was observed in both the post-TBC group and the COPD group in terms of Medical Research Council dyspnea grade, transition dyspnea index, activity score, and 6-min walking distance (42 m [p < 0.01] vs 47 m [p < 0.01], respectively). The magnitudes of the improvement in these parameters were comparable between the groups.
Conclusions: PR is as beneficial in post-TBC lung disorder patients as in COPD patients if the severity of the disability is similar.