Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) remains grossly underutilised by suitable patients worldwide. We investigated whether home-based maintenance tele-rehabilitation will be as effective as hospital-based maintenance rehabilitation and superior to usual care in reducing the risk for acute chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations, hospitalisations and emergency department (ED) visits.Following completion of an initial 2-month PR programme this prospective, randomised controlled trial (between December 2013 and July 2015) compared 12 months of home-based maintenance tele-rehabilitation (n=47) with 12 months of hospital-based, outpatient, maintenance rehabilitation (n=50) and also to 12 months of usual care treatment (n=50) without initial PR.In a multivariate analysis during the 12-month follow-up, both home-based tele-rehabilitation and hospital-based PR remained independent predictors of a lower risk for 1) acute COPD exacerbation (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.517, 95% CI 0.389-0.687, and IRR 0.635, 95% CI 0.473-0.853), respectively, and 2) hospitalisations for acute COPD exacerbation (IRR 0.189, 95% CI 0.100-0.358, and IRR 0.375, 95% CI 0.207-0.681), respectively. However, only home-based maintenance tele-rehabilitation and not hospital-based, outpatient, maintenance PR was an independent predictor of ED visits (IRR 0.116, 95% CI 0.072-0.185).Home-based maintenance tele-rehabilitation is equally effective as hospital-based, outpatient, maintenance PR in reducing the risk for acute COPD exacerbation and hospitalisations. In addition, it encounters a lower risk for ED visits, thereby constituting a potentially effective alternative strategy to hospital-based, outpatient, maintenance PR.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02618746.
Copyright ©ERS 2017.