Long-term exercise maintenance in COPD via telerehabilitation: a two-year pilot study

J Telemed Telecare. 2017 Jan;23(1):74-82. doi: 10.1177/1357633X15625545. Epub 2016 Jul 9.


Introduction Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is an integral part of the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, many patients do not access or complete PR, and long-term exercise maintenance has been difficult to achieve after PR. This study aimed to investigate feasibility, long-term exercise maintenance, clinical effects, quality of life and use of hospital resources of a telerehabilitation intervention. Methods Ten patients with COPD were offered a two-year follow-up via telerehabilitation after attending PR. The intervention consisted of home exercise, telemonitoring and self-management via a webpage combined with weekly videoconferencing sessions. Equipment included a treadmill, a pulse oximeter and a tablet. Data collected at baseline, one year and two years were six-minute walking distance (6MWD), COPD assessment test (CAT), EuroQol 5 dimensions (EQ-5D), hospitalisations and outpatient visits. Results No dropout occurred. Physical performance, lung capacity, health status and quality of life were all maintained at two years. At one year, 6MWD improved by a mean of 40 metres from baseline, CAT decreased by four points and EQ visual analogue scale (EQ VAS) improved by 15.6 points. Discussion Long-term exercise maintenance in COPD via telerehabilitation is feasible. Results are encouraging and suggest that telerehabilitation can prevent deterioration and improve physical performance, health status and quality of life.

Keywords: COPD; exercise; home monitoring; pulmonary rehabilitation; telemedicine.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care / methods
  • Telerehabilitation / methods*
  • Videoconferencing