Do the Benefits Gained Using a Short-Term Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program Remain in COPD Patients After Participation?

Karapolat H, Atasever A, Atamaz F, Kirazli Y, Elmas F, Erdinc E

The aim of this study was to evaluate the short-term benefits of a pulmonary rehabilitation program in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients.  The study was a randomized controlled trial that included 54 mild and moderate COPD patients. Patients were assigned to either an 8-week-long pulmonary rehabilitation program, or a control group.

All the patients were evaluated at baseline, at the completion of the 8th week of the program and one month after the completion of the pulmonary rehabilitation program using: arterial blood gas analysis, post bronchodilator pulmonary function test, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), St George Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), and the dyspnoea visual analogue scale (VAS).

Rehabilitation resulted in significant improvements in both the VAS and the 6MWT at the 8th week, but by the 12th week all of these improvements had deteriorated.  The authors conclude that rehabilitation resulted in improvements in exercise capacity, health status, and dyspnoea. All of these benefits, however, tend to deteriorate in the first month after rehabilitation. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that all patients with COPD be kept motivated in order to continue with rehabilitation and maintain the benefits gained.

Lung, 2007, 185(4), 221-225

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