Pulmonary rehabilitation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a call for continued investigation

Respir Med. 2008 Dec;102(12):1675-80. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2008.08.014. Epub 2008 Oct 10.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a devastating disease that afflicts patients with relentlessly progressive shortness of breath [Joint Statement of the American Thoracic Society and the European Respiratory Society. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: diagnosis and treatment. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2000;161:646-64(1)]. Despite nearly 30 years of intense investigation, effective therapy for IPF remains elusive; median survival rates have stubbornly remained less than five years from the time of diagnosis [Bjoraker JA, Ryu JH, Edwin MK, Meyers J, Tazelaar H, Schroeder D, et al. Prognostic significance of histopathologic subsets in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1998;157:199-203(2), Flaherty KR, Thwaite E, Kazerooni EA, Gross B, Toews GB, Colby TV, et al. Radiological versus histological diagnosis in UIP and NSIP: survival implications. Thorax 2003;58:143-48(3)], and no medical therapy has been proved to be in any way effective for the treatment of this disease. Without medications that help IPF patients live longer, an important question to ask is whether there are interventions that might allow these people to live better-to be more active; to experience less dyspnea, less depression, less anxiety; to possess a greater sense of control over their disease; and to have better quality of life. Pulmonary rehabilitation helps to accomplish many of these goals in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emerging data suggest that it may do the same for patients with IPF.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Dyspnea / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / complications
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life