The Particulars: Studies have suggested that a brief pulmonary rehabilitation program may improve outcomes in patients with COPD. Few studies have evaluated the efficacy of such programs.
Data Breakdown: For a study, COPD patients were randomized to standard medical treatment or a 6-week outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program. The program included 1 hour of education and 2 hours of endurance and strengthening exercise and walking spread over two clinic visits per week. Intervention patients also were prescribed 2 days per week of exercises to be completed at home. No changes in pulmonary function parameters were seen in either group at 6 weeks. However, significant improvements were seen in 6-minute walking distance, quality of life (QOL), and dyspnea level in those patients participating in the rehabilitation group.
Take Home Pearl: A 6-week pulmonary rehabilitation program appears to improve QOL, dyspnea, and exercise capacity in patients with COPD.