Effects of pulmonary rehabilitation on exercise capacity and disease impact in patients with COPD & obesity.

The aim of this study was to explore the influence of obesity on outcomes of exercise capacity and disease impact in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in response to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) and to compare outcomes to those of normal weight and overweight counterparts.

This was a secondary data analysis of data from St James’s Hospital in Dublin involving 155 participants with a primary diagnosis of COPD and completed PR between 2012-14. Their exercise capacity evaluated using the Six Minute Walk Test (6MWT) and the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) evaluated disease impact.

Walking distance in the 6MWT improved significantly [mean difference of 55m (95% CI: 42 to 68; p<0.001)] and similarly [F(2, 92)=1.434, p=0.24] across all BMI categories, although the level of improvement reached clinical significance in the normal/underweight and overweight categories only. Disease impact on the CAT score improved across all body mass index (BMI) classifications by 2.3 points (95% CI: 0.9 to 3.6; p<0.050) which reached clinical significance and did not vary across BMI categories [F(2, 80)=0.534, p=0.58]. Exercise capacity and self-report disease impact of individuals with COPD improved similarly in response to PR irrespective of BMI.