Background: Patients with Pulmonary Tuberculosis (PTB) often develop impairment in pulmonary function due to anatomical changes secondary to the illness. Physiotherapy in the form of pulmonary rehabilitation has been advocated.
Objective: The aim of the study was to determine whether adherence to a six-week home-based pulmonary rehabilitation programme (PRP) improved the baseline measurements of lung function, exercise tolerance and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients receiving out-patient treatment for PTB.
Method: A single blinded randomized control study design was used to assess the effects of a six-week home- based PRP in patients receiving treatment for PTB at a local clinic in Khayelitsha, Western Cape. We evaluated lung function by spirometry (MINATO AUTOSPIRO-model no. AZ-505), exercise tolerance using the 6-min-walk test (6MWT), the Borg exercise exertion scale and HRQoL using the EQ-5 D questionnaire in an intervention group (n=34) and a control group (n=33). The trend of the effects of the PRP on lung function was towards increases, but there was no statistical difference between the intervention and control groups at the end of the sixth week in the values of FVC (p=0.2; 95% CI -0.9 to 0.51) as well as FEV1 (p=0.1; 95% CI -0.07 to 0.51). Similar trend was observed for exercise tolerance, and there was no significant difference in HRQoL (p=0.789).
Conclusion: The outcome of the study provides motivation for further consideration and implementation of a pulmonary rehabilitation programme for patients with PTB.
Keywords: Pulmonary rehabilitation; pulmonary tuberculosis.