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Effectiveness of home-based pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Xian-Liang Liu, Jing-Yu Tan, Tao Wang, Qi Zhang, Min Zhang, Li-Qun Yao, Jin-Xiu Chen
Rehabilitation Nursing: the Official Journal of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses 2014, 39 (1): 36-59
23780865

PURPOSE: The pulmonary rehabilitation program has become a cornerstone in the management of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Programs based in hospital and treatment facilities, however, are inconvenient and underutilized. A home-based program is a promising alternative, but studies of its effectiveness have yielded inconsistent results. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of home-based pulmonary rehabilitation programs on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and other health outcomes in patients with COPD.

METHODS: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of home-based pulmonary rehabilitation programs published between February 1991 and February 2012 were retrieved from electronic databases (PubMed, Cochrane Library, Science Direct, China National Knowledge Infrastructure [CNKI], and Wanfang Database). Two reviewers independently assessed topical relevance and trial quality, extracted data for meta-analysis using the Review Manager v5.1 software, and contacted the original studies' authors for additional information.

FINDINGS: Eighteen trials, comprising 733 randomized patients, were included in the meta-analysis. COPD patients experienced significant relief in dyspnea status, measured by the Borg score (Fixed effects model, WMD = -0.92, 95% CI: -1.61~-0.23, p = .009) and baseline dyspnea index (BDI) (Fixed effects model, WMD = -1.77, 95% CI: -2.65~-0.89, p < .0001) after 12 weeks of home-based intervention. Home-based intervention also improved patients' HRQoL scores, measured by the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ) and St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) (Fixed effects model, WMD = -11.33, 95% CI: -16.37~-6.29, p < .0001, SGRQ total scores after 12 weeks of intervention); exercise capacity (measured by the 6-minute walking distance test (6MWD) (Fixed effects model, WMD = 35.88, 95% CI: 9.38~62.38, p = .008, after 12 weeks of intervention); and pulmonary functions (measured by forced expiratory volume in one-second/forced vital capacity (FEV1 /FVC) [Random effects model, WMD = -10.72, 95% CI: -15.86~-5.58, p < .0001, after 12 weeks of intervention), as compared with the nonintervention control group; however, no statistically significant changes were seen in maximal workload, hospital admission, cost of care, or mortality between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation programs represent effective therapeutic intervention approaches for relieving COPD-associated respiratory symptoms and improving HRQoL and exercise capacity. Rigorously designed, large-scale RCTs are still needed to identify an optimal standard home-based pulmonary rehabilitation program.

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