Home-based telerehabilitation via real-time videoconferencing improves endurance exercise capacity in patients with COPD: The randomized controlled TeleR Study

Respirology. 2017 May;22(4):699-707. doi: 10.1111/resp.12966. Epub 2016 Dec 19.


Background and objective: Telerehabilitation has the potential to increase access to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) for patients with COPD who have difficulty accessing centre-based PR due to poor mobility, lack of transport and cost of travel. We aimed to determine the effect of supervised, home-based, real-time videoconferencing telerehabilitation on exercise capacity, self-efficacy, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and physical activity in patients with COPD compared with usual care without exercise training.

Methods: Patients with COPD were randomized to either a supervised home-based telerehabilitation group (TG) that received exercise training three times a week for 8 weeks or a control group (CG) that received usual care without exercise training. Outcomes were measured at baseline and following the intervention.

Results: Thirty-six out of 37 participants (mean ± SD age = 74 ± 8 years, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1 ) = 64 ± 21% predicted) completed the study. Compared with the CG, the TG showed a statistically significant increase in endurance shuttle walk test time (mean difference = 340 s (95% CI: 153-526, P < 0.001)), an increase in self-efficacy (mean difference = 8 points (95% CI: 2-14, P < 0.007)), a trend towards a statistically significant increase in the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire total score (mean difference = 8 points (95% CI: -1 to 16, P = 0.07)) and no difference in physical activity (mean difference = 475 steps per day (95% CI: -200 to 1151, P = 0.16)).

Conclusion: This study showed that telerehabilitation improved endurance exercise capacity and self-efficacy in patients with COPD when compared with usual care.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; exercise; pulmonary rehabilitation; telerehabilitation; videoconferencing.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Telerehabilitation / methods*
  • Videoconferencing*