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Thorax. 2010 Jan;65(1):7-13. doi: 10.1136/thx.2009.118620. Epub 2009 Aug 23.

Short- and long-term efficacy of a community-based COPD management programme in less advanced COPD: a randomised controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Máxima Medical Centre, Veldhoven, The Netherlands.



The effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation in advanced COPD is well established, but few data are available in less advanced disease.


In a 2 year randomised controlled trial, 199 patients with an average moderate airflow obstruction but impaired exercise capacity (mean (SD) forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) 60 (16)%, peak work load (Wmax) <70%) were randomised to the INTERdisciplinary COMmunity-based COPD management programme (INTERCOM) or usual care. Intervention consisted of 4 months multidisciplinary rehabilitation followed by a 20-month maintenance phase. Outcomes (4, 12, 24 months): health-related quality of life (St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ)), exacerbation frequency, MRC dyspnoea score, cycle endurance time (CET), 6-minute walking distance (6MWD), skeletal muscle strength and patients' and caregivers' perceived effectiveness.


Between-group comparison after 4 months revealed the following mean (SE) significant differences in favour of INTERCOM: SGRQ total score 4.06 (1.39), p = 0.004; activity and impact subscores, p<0.01; MRC score 0.33 (0.13), p = 0.01; Wmax 6.0 (2.3) Watt, p = 0.02; CET 221 (104) s, p = 0.04; 6MWD 13 (6) m, p = 0.02; hand grip force 4.3 (1.5) lb, p<0.01; and fat-free mass index 0.34 (0.13) kg/m(2), p = 0.01. Between-group differences over 2 years were as follows: SGRQ 2.60 (1.3), p = 0.04; MRC score 0.21 (0.10), p = 0.048; CET 253 (104) s, p = 0.0156; 6MWD 18 (8) m, p = 0.0155. Exacerbation frequency was not different (RR 1.29 (95% CI 0.89 to 1.87)). Patients' and caregivers' perceived effectiveness significantly favoured the INTERCOM programme (p<0.01).


This study shows that a multidisciplinary community-based disease management programme is also effective in patients with COPD with exercise impairment but less advanced airflow obstruction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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