Pulmonary rehabilitation in interstitial lung disease: benefits and predictors of response

Chest. 2009 Feb;135(2):442-447. doi: 10.1378/chest.08-1458. Epub 2008 Oct 10.


Background: Data examining the role of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) in interstitial lung disease (ILD) are limited. We tested the hypothesis that PR can improve functional status and dyspnea in a large group of patients with ILD, and that certain baseline patient variables can predict this improvement.

Methods: Data from patients who were referred to PR with a diagnosis of ILD were included. Baseline and post-PR variables were recorded, and changes in 6-min walk test (6MWT) distance and dyspnea were evaluated. The impact of baseline variables on change in 6MWT distance and dyspnea were analyzed.

Results: A statistically significant difference was seen in both the change in Borg score and 6MWT distance after PR (p < 0.0001). These changes were consistent with previously established clinically significant differences. Baseline 6MWT distance was a significant predictor of change in 6MWT distance (p < 0.0001), with increasing baseline 6MWT distance predicting a smaller improvement after PR.

Conclusions: These results suggest that PR should be considered as a standard of care for patients with ILD.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Probability
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Therapy / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking / physiology