Reduction in hospitalisation following pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with COPD

Aust Health Rev. 2008 Aug;32(3):415-22. doi: 10.1071/ah080415.


Objectives: Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) improves exercise capacity and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and reduces health care utilisation. This study quantified outcomes of a PR program over a 6-year period and determined the effects of PR on hospitalisation.

Methods: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disesae (COPD) who entered an 8-week outpatient PR program from 1998 to 2003 were included. Functional exercise capacity (6-minute walk distance [6MWD]) and HRQoL (Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire) were measured before and following PR. The number of hospital admissions and total bed-days due to a COPD exacerbation in the 12 months before and following PR were recorded.

Setting: Physiotherapy Department, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Western Australia.

Results: 187 (73%) of the 256 patients who entered PR completed the program. Improvements in 6MWD (404.2 +/- 114.6 m to 439.6 +/- 115.0m, P < 0.001) and HRQoL (4.1 +/- 0.9 points per item to 4.9 +/- 0.9 points per item, P < 0.001) occurred following PR. There was a 46% reduction in the number of patients admitted to hospital (71 to 38) with a COPD exacerbation and a 62% reduction in total bed-days (1131 to 432) following PR.

Conclusion: Pulmonary rehabilitation provided in an Australian teaching hospital was associated with a reduction in COPD hospitalisation, and the resultant savings outweighed the costs of providing the program.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cost Savings
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / economics
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Sickness Impact Profile