Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

B Rammaert, S Leroy, B Cavestri, B Wallaert, J-M Grosbois
Revue des Maladies Respiratoires 2011, 28 (7): e52-7

INTRODUCTION: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a severe chronic lung disease. Pulmonary rehabilitation could improve the quality of life of patients with this condition.

METHODS: We prospectively evaluated the impact of an 8-week home-based pulmonary rehabilitation programme over 10 months in stable patients suffering from IPF. Exercise capacity, pulmonary function, dyspnoea and quality of life were analyzed before and after the rehabilitation programme.

RESULTS: Seventeen patients were included and 13 completed the study. Mean functional vital capacity (FVC) was 2.15±0.79L and mean diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) was 7.81±3.99mL/min/mmHg. Six patients were treated with low dose oral steroids (20mg/day of prednisone) with or without immunosuppressive treatments; six were taking part in therapeutic trials. Mean endurance time (7.4±9.1 min vs. 14.1±12.1 min; P=0.01), number of steps per minute on a stepper (322±97 vs. 456±163; P=0.026), six-minute walk distance relative to heart rate (HR) (11±6 vs. 17±12; P=0.006), exercise dyspnoea (P=0.026), sensation of physical limitation on the SF-36 (25%±26 vs. 49%±38; P=0.047) and four out of seven visual analogue scales were significantly improved after rehabilitation. In contrast, no significant difference was observed in resting pulmonary function or in other items on quality of life questionnaires.

CONCLUSION: A home-based programme of pulmonary rehabilitation is feasible in IPF patients. It significantly improved endurance parameters and physical limitation in this patient group without changing pulmonary function.

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