Long-term effects of a 12-week exercise training program on clinical outcomes in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Lung. 2015 Jun;193(3):345-54. doi: 10.1007/s00408-015-9703-0. Epub 2015 Mar 3.


Purpose: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, devastating, lung disease, with few therapeutic options. Data are limited with respect to the long-term effect of exercise training (ET) in IPF. This study sought to evaluate the long-term effects of a 12-week ET program on clinical outcomes in IPF patients.

Methods: Thirty-four IPF patients were randomly allocated to ET or control groups. ET group participated in a 12-week supervised exercise program, while the control group continued with regular medical treatment alone. Exercise capacity, 30 s-chair-stand test for leg strength, dyspnea, and Saint George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) for quality of life (QOL) were assessed at baseline and re-evaluated at 11 months from baseline. In addition, at 30-month time point from baseline, the impact of the 12-week intervention was analyzed with respect to survival and cardio-respiratory-related hospitalizations.

Results: Thirty-two patients completed the 12-week intervention and 28 patients (14 in each group) were re-evaluated. At 11-month follow-up, no significant differences between the groups and time effect were demonstrated for most outcomes. ET group showed preserved values at the baseline level while the control group showed a trend of deterioration. Only the 30 s-chair-stand test (mean difference 3 stands, p = 0.01) and SGRQ (mean difference -6 units, p = 0.037) were significantly different between the groups. At 30 months, the survival analysis showed three deaths, eight hospitalizations occurred in the control group versus one death, one lung transplantation and seven hospitalizations in the ET group, with no significant differences between groups.

Conclusions: At 11-month follow-up, the 12-week ET program showed clinical outcomes were preserved at baseline levels with some maintenance of improvements in leg strength and QOL in the ET group. The control group showed a trend of deterioration in the outcomes. At 30 months, the 12-week ET program did not show benefits in prognosis although the study was underpowered to detect such differences. We suggest including ET as a long-term continued treatment and as a core component of pulmonary rehabilitation programs for IPF patients.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01499745.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / mortality
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Israel
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Lung Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Quality of Life
  • Recovery of Function
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01499745