Background and objective: Although pulmonary rehabilitation is effective for patients with COPD, its efficacy in patients with IPF is unknown. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of pulmonary rehabilitation in IPF.
Methods: Thirty patients diagnosed with IPF, according to the consensus statement, were randomly assigned to the rehabilitation group or the control group. The pulmonary rehabilitation mainly consisted of a 10-week programme of exercise training. Pulmonary function, blood gas analysis, 6MWD, dyspnoea rating with the baseline dyspnoea index and health-related quality of life score on the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire were evaluated at baseline and after the programme.
Results: Assessment of efficacy was carried out on 13 patients who completed the programme and 15 patients in the control group. There were no significant effects of the programme on measures of pulmonary function, values of arterial blood gas analysis or dyspnoea rating. Although there were some differences in the baseline 6MWD and total health-related quality of life score which were not statistically significant, marked improvements were observed in the 6MWD (mean difference 46.3 m (95% CI: 8.3-84.4), P < 0.05) and the total health-related quality of life score (-6.1 (95% CI: -11.7 to -0.5), P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Pulmonary rehabilitation improves both exercise capacity and health-related quality of life in patients with IPF.