A 1-Month Physical Therapy-Based Outpatient Program for Adults Awaiting Lung Transplantation: A Retrospective Analysis of Exercise Capacity, Symptoms, and Quality of Life

Rebecca Byrd, Patrick Smith, Omar Mohamedaly, Laurie D Snyder, Amy M Pastva
Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal 2019, 30 (2): 61-69

Purpose: Rehabilitation can improve health outcomes in candidates for lung transplantation. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively evaluate the effect of a one-month physical therapy (PT)-based outpatient program on exercise capacity, symptoms, quality of life and examine predictors of functional outcome changes in adults awaiting lung transplantation.

Methods: Participants (n=141) completed a 23-session exercise and educational program over one month. Outcomes included 6-minute walk distance (6MWD), San Diego Shortness of Breath Questionnaire (SOBQ), Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CESD), and Ferrans and Powers Quality of Life Index Pulmonary Version III (QOL).

Results: Participants were older (median age 63) with restrictive (59%) or obstructive (24%) disease. Moderate-to-large improvements in 6MWD were observed (69 m, p < 0.001, d = 0.72), independent of demographics, symptoms, and QOL. Lower initial 6MWD and lower oxygen utilization were associated with greater 6MWD improvements, with largest gains occurring in initial 6MWD < 305 m. Small-to-moderate improvements were observed on CESD ( p < 0.001, d = 0.26) and in overall QOL ( p < 0.001, d = 0.27), with a non-significant improvement observed on SOBQ ( p = 0.248, d = 0.13).

Conclusions: Completion of a one-month PT-based outpatient rehabilitation program was associated with improved exercise capacity, depressive symptoms and QOL.

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