A simple pulmonary rehabilitation program improves health outcomes and reduces hospital utilization in patients with COPD

Chest. 2003 Jul;124(1):94-7. doi: 10.1378/chest.124.1.94.


Study objectives: A prospective longitudinal study to investigate if a simple outpatient-based pulmonary rehabilitation program (PRP) can improve health outcome and hospital utilization in patients with COPD.

Patients: Patients with COPD and FEV(1) < 60% predicted.

Setting: Outpatient physiotherapy department at a district general hospital (Fairfield Hospital, Sydney, Australia).

Intervention: Completion of a simple PRP.

Results: Thirty-six patients with COPD completed the PRP. Improved exercise endurance (mean +/- SD 6-min walking distance increased from 333 +/- 76 to 423 +/- 107 m [p < 0.001]), reduced dyspnea scale, and improved quality-of-life measurements were found. There was no improvement in lung functions (FEV(1) preprogram mean, 0.97 +/- 0.43 L; postprogram mean, 0.96 +/- 0.42 L). In the 12 months following completion of program, hospitalization and length of stay were reduced compared to prior to starting the program (preprogram, 7.4 days; postprogram, 3.3 days; p < 0.005).

Conclusions: A simple, low-cost, outpatient PRP was able to improve health outcome for patients with COPD. Hospital utilization and health cost were reduced as well.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Time Factors
  • Walking