• Vol. 30 No. 1, 15–21
  • 15 January 2001

Effects of a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme on Physiologic and Psychosocial Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Respiratory Disorders

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: The purpose of this prospective study is to determine the effects of a pulmonary rehabilitation programme (PRP) conducted at our centre for patients with chronic lung disease.

Materials and Methods: Thirty-four patients (27 men and 7 women, mean age 67.6 years) with predominantly moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (31 patients), bronchiectasis (2 patients) and interstitial lung disease (1 patient) completed a 6-week outpatient PRP that included education, physical and respiratory care instruction and supervised exercise training. Outcome assessment was performed at baseline, on completion of PRP and 3 months after PRP. Physiologic measures included pulmonary function, incremental exercise and 6-minute walk tests (6MWTs). Disease-specific quality of life was assessed using the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire (CRDQ).

Results: There was no significant change in resting spirometry or lung volumes after PRP. Maximal oxygen uptake and work-rate improved significantly after PRP by 132.4 mL kg-1 min–1 and 10.7 W, respectively. 6MWT distance improved significantly by a mean of 67.3 m (P <0.0001). Maximum Borg dyspnoea scores decreased significantly by 1.2 + 0.5 (P <0.038). All domains of the CRDQ completed by a sub-group of patients improved significantly and the total scores increased by a mean of 21.7 points at the end of the PRP. The improvements gained in maximal exercise capacity immediately following PRP were maintained in 17 patients who returned for repeat assessment 3 months after PRP.

Conclusion: Patients who completed a comprehensive PRP at our centre showed significant increase in functional capacity, reduction of exertional dyspnoea and improvement in health status.


Pulmonary rehabilitation is a multi-disciplinary programme of care for patients with chronic respiratory impairment that is individually designed to optimise physical and social performance and autonomy. In recent years, the efficacy and scientific foundation of pulmonary rehabilitation have been firmly established.

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