Outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation in severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci. Oct-Dec 2010;52(4):197-201.


Objectives: An outpatient programme for rehabilitation of patients with severe ventilatory impairment due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was conducted. Its main purpose was to assess the feasibility of the programme for COPD patients.

Methods: Initial assessment included a shuttle walking test, administration of the chronic respiratory disease questionnaire (CRDQ), assessment of the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HAD) and sickness impact profile (SIP). The patients were entered into a 6-week outpatient programme between January 2007 to July 2007 during which they attended twice weekly for a 2 1/2 hour session. Assessment was repeated on completion of the study at three months and later at six months.

Results: The study included 44 (28 males) patients with COPD with a mean age 66 years. All patients had severe ventilatory impairment as defined by a forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) of less than 40% of predicted. The shuttle walking distance improved significantly and was maintained at the improved level for six months. The improvement in all four dimensions of the CRDQ was statistically significant (p < 0.05) and reached clinical significance for fatigue and for mastery. On entry, a notable level of depression was found in 32% of patients, and anxiety in 40 percent. There was a significant reduction in both of these that was maintained at six months (p < 0.05). There was no improvement in the SIP at three months, but significant improvement was found at six months (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: This study shows that a successful outpatient programme can be conducted in patients with severe ventilatory impairment, and that benefits in physical ability and in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) can be achieved. The improvements were maintained at six months.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome