Short outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation programme reduces readmission following a hospitalization for an exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Respirology. 2013 Oct;18(7):1063-8. doi: 10.1111/resp.12141.


Background and objective: The benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) are now firmly established. However, less is known about the provision and efficacy of PR immediately after an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The study aimed to explore the effectiveness of a short outpatient PR programme and the impact upon readmission rates.

Methods: One hundred sixty (87 males) patients, mean (SD) age 70.35 (8.59) years, forced expiratory volume in 1 s 0.99 (0.44) litres were assessed for a 7-week PR programme following a hospital admission for an acute exacerbation of COPD. Patients were assessed and commenced PR within 4 weeks of discharge from hospital. Outcome measures included: Incremental Shuttle Walking Test (ISWT), Endurance Shuttle Walk Test (ESWT), Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire Self-Reported (CRQ-SR). Patients were assessed at baseline and at 7 weeks (after the 4-week supervised and 3-week unsupervised components). Readmission data were collected retrospectively for the 12 months pre and post admission (n = 155).

Results: Statistically significant improvements were found in the ISWT, ESWT and CRQ-SR at discharge (P < 0.05). The number of admission was significantly less in the 12-month post-pulmonary rehabilitation compared to the previous 12 months.

Conclusions: A short course of PR showed improvements in exercise capacity and health status in patients who have had an acute exacerbation of COPD. The number of readmissions was also significantly lower in the year following PR.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; disease exacerbation; rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Outpatients*
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking / physiology