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[Benefits of a home-based pulmonary rehabilitation program for patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease]

Vanessa Regiane Resqueti, Amaia Gorostiza, Juan B Gáldiz, Elena López de Santa María, Pere Casan Clarà, Rosa Güell Rous
Archivos de Bronconeumología 2007, 43 (11): 599-604
17983543

OBJECTIVE: The benefits of a domiciliary program of pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with severe to very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are uncertain. We aimed to assess the short- and medium-term efficacy of such a program in this clinical setting.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with severe COPD (stages III-IV, classification of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) and incapacitating dyspnea (scores 3-5, Medical Research Council [MRC] scale) were randomized to a control or domiciliary rehabilitation group. The 9-week supervised pulmonary rehabilitation program included educational sessions, respiratory physiotherapy, and muscle training in weekly sessions in the patient's home. We assessed the following variables at baseline, 9 weeks, and 6 months: lung function, exercise tolerance (3-minute walk test), dyspnea (MRC score), and health-related quality of life with the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ).

RESULTS: Thirty-eight patients with a mean (SD) age of 68 (6) years were enrolled. The mean MRC score was 4 (0.8) and mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second was 29% of reference. Twenty-nine patients completed the study (6 months). Distance covered on the walk test increased significantly in the rehabilitation group (P=.001) and the difference was maintained at 6 months. Dyspnea also improved significantly with rehabilitation (P<.05), but the reduction was not evident at 6 months. Statistically significant improvements in symptoms related to 2 CRQ domains were detected between baseline and 9 weeks: dyspnea (3.1 [0.8] vs 3.6 [0.7]; P=.02) and fatigue (3.7 [0.8] vs 4.2 [0.9]; P=.002). A clinically relevant but not statistically significant change in mastery over disease was detected (from 4.3 to 4.9). All improvements were maintained at 6 months.

CONCLUSIONS: Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with severe to very severe COPD and severe functional incapacity leads to improvements in exercise tolerance and health-related quality of life that are maintained at 6 months.

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