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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2006 Aug 18;131(33):1793-8.

[Effectiveness of inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation (AHB). Results of a multicenter prospective observation study].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Fachklinik Allgäu, Pfronten.



The value of pulmonary rehabilitation in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is well accepted. However, there are no data on the efficacy of in-patient rehabilitation instituted within 14 days after an acute disease episode, as practised in Germany. It was the purpose of this multi-centre prospective study to assess changes in lung function, exercise capacity, symptoms and disease-related quality of life (QoL) in patients discharged from hospital for an episode of worsening COPD or asthma, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia or treatment of lung cancer.


207 patients (mean age 60 13 years) with COPD (n=86), pneumonia (n=42), lung cancer (n=24), asthma (n=14), pulmonary embolism (n=7) or other pulmonary disease (n=34) were included. Measurements of lung function, exercise capacity and disease-related QoL were carried out at the beginning and end of rehabilitation. Socio-economic data and disease-related QoL measurements were recorded again after 2 months.


Rehabilitation led to a significant improvement of lung function, exercise capacity and QoL. Patients felt rehabilitation was efficacious (95%), to be recommended (99%) and important (100%). Improvement of QoL was maintained at two 2 months and only 16% of previously working patients had applied for retirement.


The data demonstrate the clinically relevant benefit of in-patient pulmonary rehabilitation immediately after a period of acute illness. In view of these result and the known morbidity and mortality of patients with COPD after hospitalization for a period of acute illness, this form of pulmonary rehabilitation should be considered as standard treatment for these patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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