Purpose: To examine the effect of an interdisciplinary, out-patient rehabilitation programme for patients with chronic inflammatory arthritis on aerobic capacity and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Method: One hundred and seventy-four patients, 115 with peripheral arthritis (PA) (91 women, mean age 53 years, disease duration 16 years) and 59 with spondylarthropathies (SpA), (27 women, mean age 46 years, disease duration 14 years) were consecutively enrolled in 18 days of interdisciplinary rehabilitation. We report data from evaluations at inclusion, at discharge, and at 4 and 12 months using a sub-maximal treadmill test of aerobic capacity and the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) (t-test).
Results: At inclusion, less than 20% of all patients tested had aerobic capacity classified as 'average' or better. At discharge, 41% (PA) and 54% (SpA) reached the 'average' level or better with improvements maintained for 12 months. The total NHP scores improved in both groups (mean change -12 (99%CI -15, -9) for PA; mean change -13 (99%CI -19, -8) for SpA) and were maintained.
Conclusion: Aerobic capacity and HRQOL improved significantly in this interdisciplinary out-patient rehabilitation study, and improvements were maintained for 12 months. The preserved level of aerobic capacity after 12 months indicated a change to a more physically active lifestyle among the participants.