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Scand J Rehabil Med. 1999 Dec;31(4):207-13.

Long-term effects of a pulmonary rehabilitation programme in outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a randomized controlled study.

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Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.


Fifty patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (FEV1 < 50% pred.) were randomized to a rehabilitation group and a control group. The rehabilitation group took part in an individualized multidisciplinary, outpatient 12-month rehabilitation programme. Exercise training was intensive during the first 6 weeks and was then gradually replaced by an individual home-training programme and booster sessions. Controls received the usual outpatient care. Positive effects were found in terms of maximum symptom-limited exercise tolerance and walking distance (13.5 and 12.1% increase, respectively) in the rehabilitation group compared with the controls. Quality of life measurements showed minor beneficial effects on the Sickness Impact Profile, indicating a higher level of activity. No effect was seen on the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire or the Mood Adjective Check List. Patients expressed their enthusiasm for the rehabilitation programme in a study-specific questionnaire.

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