Pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with bronchiectasis: pulmonary function, arterial blood gases, and the 6-minute walk test

J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2012 Sep-Oct;32(5):278-83. doi: 10.1097/HCR.0b013e3182631314.


Background: Information regarding the effects of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) on pulmonary function (PF), arterial blood gases (ABG), and 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) in patients with bronchiectasis is scant in the literature.

Methods: To evaluate the effects of PR on these indices in this population, a retrospective evaluation of those who attended PR from 2007 to 2010, was made. Pulmonary rehabilitation lasted a mean of 12 weeks and included cycle ergometer exercise for 30 minutes, 3 times per week, with additional upper limbs and quadriceps training. PF, ABG, and 6MWD were evaluated before and after PR to determine the potential influence of gender, exacerbations, underlying cause of bronchiectasis, severity of obstruction, and colonization with bacteria.

Results: Forty-one patients (48.8% males; median age, 54 years) were included; 25 had severe obstruction and 19 were colonized with bacteria. Following PR, no significant changes were detected in PF or ABG. Median 6MWD before PR was 425 m and post-PR was 450 m (P = .431). Outcomes did not show any interaction with gender, colonization, or exacerbations. However, patients with idiopathic bronchiectasis did show a significant improvement in forced vital capacity in percent of predicted and residual volume after PR (P = .016 and .048, respectively). Patients with severe obstruction showed a statistically significant decrease in percent of predicted residual volume (P = .025).

Conclusion: There appears to be a beneficial impact of PR on PF in certain groups of patients with bronchiectasis. In addition, PR indications and protocols for patients with bronchiectasis may need to be adapted to accommodate specific patients, so that expressive exercise capacity improvement can be achieved.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Gas Analysis / methods
  • Bronchiectasis / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Function Tests*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sputum
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking*
  • Young Adult