Effects of Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Patients with Non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis: A Retrospective Analysis of Clinical and Functional Predictors of Efficacy

Respiration. 2015;89(6):525-33. doi: 10.1159/000380771. Epub 2015 Apr 28.


Background: International guidelines recommend the inclusion of patients with bronchiectasis in pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) to improve exercise capacity and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). At present, the effect of PR in these patients has been poorly investigated.

Objective: The aim of our retrospective analysis was to evaluate the effects and predictors of success for a PR program in patients with bronchiectasis not related to cystic fibrosis (non-CF bronchiectasis).

Methods: One hundred and thirty-five non-CF bronchiectasis inpatients, allocated to a 3-week PR program, were retrospectively evaluated. Exercise capacity (6-min walk distance, 6MWD), dyspnea (Baseline/Transition Dyspnea Index, BDI/TDI), and HRQoL [EuroQol visual analogue scale (EQ-VAS)] were assessed before and after PR. The relationship between baseline parameters and changes in outcome measures after PR was assessed. Both univariate and multiple logistic analyses were performed to evaluate the presence of independent predictors of the efficacy of PR.

Results: One hundred and eight patients [49 males, mean age 71 years, mean forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) 76% predicted] were included. After PR, there was a significant improvement in 6MWD, TDI, and EQ-VAS score (p < 0.001). Changes in 6MWD and EQ-VAS score correlated with baseline FEV1, FEV1/vital capacity (VC), residual volume, transfer factor of the lung for carbon monoxide, and the number of exacerbations in the previous year. Both univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that male gender, baseline FEV1/VC <70%, and >2 exacerbations in the previous year were independent predictors of PR efficacy in terms of an improvement in 6MWD.

Conclusions: Our study supports the inclusion of patients with bronchiectasis in PR programs. Clinical and functional baseline findings partially predict the response to PR in terms of exercise tolerance. Further prospective, randomized, controlled trials are needed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bronchiectasis / complications
  • Bronchiectasis / rehabilitation*
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Dyspnea / rehabilitation
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Quality of Life*
  • Residual Volume
  • Respiratory Therapy / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vital Capacity