The functional impact of an individualized, graded, outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation in end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Heart Lung. Nov-Dec 2004;33(6):381-9. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2004.08.003.


Objective: To evaluate the functional impact of an individualized outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program in end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods: Patients with end-stage COPD were admitted into a 6-week comprehensive outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program that was "packaged" for each patient. We compared spirometric parameters, exercise tolerance, level of breathlessness, and intensity of work before and after rehabilitation.

Results: Of 45 eligible patients, only 14 consented to participate in the study. All 14 patients had forced expiratory volume in 1 second <35% of predicted, and 10 patients (72%) had a 6-minute walk test <180 m. The level of breathlessness was between 7 (moderate to severely breathless) and 10 (maximally breathless) on the Visual Analogue Scale in all patients. After the program, there was significant improvement in the FEV 1 P = 0.04), forced vital capacity P = 0.0045), 6-minute walk test P = 0.00047), and shuttle-walk test (9 of 14 patients). All patients had some improvement in level of dyspnea.

Conclusions: Individualized outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation in end-stage COPD can produce a measurable improvement in spirometry and exercise tolerance with a favorable impact on the level of physical activity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Diet
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Spirometry
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vital Capacity