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Results of an 8-week, Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program on Patients With and Without Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Ferreira, Gregory MD; Feuerman, Martin; Spiegler, Peter MD, FCCP

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation: January-February 2006 - Volume 26 - Issue 1 - p 54-60

PURPOSE: To determine whether there is any difference in the effect of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) on outcomes in patients with and without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

METHODS: Retrospective analysis of medical records of all patients enrolling in PR over a 5-year period.

RESULTS: A total of 422 patients enrolled in a multidisciplinary PR program from August 1999 to April 2004. Three hundred nine patients had COPD and 113 patients had diagnoses other than COPD. Three hundred seventy-nine patients completed the program. PR was conducted according to currently accepted guidelines. Measurements included the 6-minute walk distance (6MW) performed at the beginning and end of the program and quality of life as determined by the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ) at the beginning and end of the program. Both groups had significant improvements in the 6MW and all domains of the CRQ following PR. There was no significant difference in any of these outcomes between the 2 groups. The baseline forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) was not correlated with improvement in the 6MW in either group.

CONCLUSIONS: There is no significant difference in improvement in exercise tolerance or quality of life following PR in COPD versus non-COPD patients. Baseline lung function does not predict improvement in exercise tolerance. PR is effective for patients with disability due to any chronic respiratory disease and not just COPD.

The effects of pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD are well-documented. There is very little known about the effects in other patient populations. This study evaluates the effectiveness of PR in other patients with chronic respiratory disease.

From the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Winthrop University Hospital, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Mineola (Dr Ferreira, Mr Feuerman, Dr Spiegler).

Address correspondence to: Peter Spiegler, MD, FCCP, 222 Station Plaza North, Suite 400, Mineola, NY 11501 (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.