The objective of this investigation was to determine whether chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients with high blood eosinophil (EOS) counts had better improvement in 6-min walk test (6MWT) after pulmonary rehabilitation (PR).
Fifty COPD patients were randomly assigned to either the rehabilitation group (RG) or the control group (CG). Patients in the RG (8 wk PR + routine medication) and the CG (routine medication) were followed for 32 wk. According to the blood EOS level, the RG was divided into an EOS ≥ 200 cells/μL group and EOS < 200 cells/μL group. The 6MWT distance, Borg Scale, and COPD Assessment Test (CAT) were evaluated before intervention and 8 wk and 32 wk later.
After the 8-wk intervention, 37 patients (19 RG/18 CG) completed the study. At 8-wk and 32-wk follow-up from baseline, a statistically significant difference was found between these two groups in the 6MWT, Borg Scale, and CAT. Compared with baseline, the 6MWT in the RG increased 49.1 ± 40.2 m (95% CI, 29.7-68.5, P < .001) at 8 wk and 60.8 ± 42.1 m (95% CI, 40.5-81.6, P < .001) at 32 wk. In addition, the improvement of 6MWT in the EOS ≥ 200 cells/μL RG group was higher than that in the EOS < 200 cells/μL group (40.1 ± 17.6 m, 95% CI, 36.8-43.4; P = .036) at 32-wk follow-up from baseline.
An 8-wk PR can improve the exercise capacity of COPD patients, and the benefits persistent for 24 wk. The improvement in the 6MWT was more significant in COPD patients with a high blood EOS count.