Pulmonary rehabilitation following lung transplantation

P E Munro, A E Holland, M Bailey, B M Button, G I Snell
Transplantation Proceedings 2009, 41 (1): 292-5
Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) following lung transplantation (LT) is regarded as part of best practice management; however, the optimal duration and composition of PR programs for LT patients is unknown. This study aimed to describe changes in functional outcomes of LT patients who participated in our standard outpatient post-LT PR program. A prospective, repeated measures design was used. Functional exercise capacity (6-minute walk distance [6MWD]), lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV(1)], forced vital capacity [FVC]) and quality of life (Short Form 34 [SF-36]) were assessed at 1, 2, and 3 months following LT. All subjects attended a 1-hour outpatient group exercise training class 3 days per week until 12 weeks post-LT and education sessions facilitated by the multidisciplinary team. Patients with postoperative complications (mechanical ventilation, major myopathy) were excluded. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and analysis of variance with repeated measures. Thirty-six subjects (50% men), 81% bilateral LT, mean age 46 +/- 14 years were included. Significant improvements were demonstrated in 6MWD (451 +/- 126 m to 543 +/- 107 m, P < .001), FEV(1) (71% +/- 18% to 81% +/- 4%, P < .0001), FVC (69% +/- 14% to 81% +/- 18%, P < .0001), and all SF36 domains (P < .05). Large improvements were seen in the first month of rehabilitation, with smaller but clinically significant improvements continuing in the second month. Further prospective, longitudinal studies are required to determine whether a longer period of pulmonary rehabilitation would result in additional improvements.

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