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Outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Hospital of the Croix-Rousse at Lyon, France.



To evaluate an entirely outpatient-based program of pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD, using St.George's Respiratory questionnaire (SGRQ), the 6-minutes walking test (6-MWT) and BODE index as the primary outcome measures.


A prospective, parallel-group controlled study of an outpatient rehabilitation program in 80 patients with COPD (67 men and 13 women; mean age 64.8 +/- 10.6 years; FEV1, 42.8% +/- 7.6% of the predicted value. The active group (n = 40) took part in a 14-week rehabilitation program [3 h/wk, 1.5 h of education and exercise and 1.5 h of cycling]. The control group (n = 40) was reviewed routinely as medical outpatients. The following evaluations were carried out at study entry and afterl4 weeks: (1) pulmonary function studies; (2) 6-minutes walking test 6MWT; (3) quality of life; and (4) BODE index.


The following patients completed the study: 35 patients (87.5%) from the active group (mean age, 63.7 +/- 11.9 years; mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), 41.9 +/- 2.6% of the predicted value); and 36 patients (88%) from the control group (mean age, 65.9 +/- 10.3 years; mean FEV1, 43.33 +/- 3.6% of the predicted value). We found no changes in pulmonary function parameters in the active group and the control one at 14weeks. On the other hand, there were significant changes within the components of the SGRQ (12.3 for the score total) for the patients of the active group but not for the patients of the control one (only 1.5 for the score total), we observed also a significant increase in the distance of the 6-MWT in the patients of the active group but not for the patients of the control one, and finally a decrease of two points (from 6 to 4) was noted in the score of the active group's BODE index without any change in the control group's one.


An outpatient-based of 14-week rehabilitation program significantly improved the quality of life and exercise tolerance without any change in the pulmonary function in patients with moderate COPD, and there was also a large decrease in the risk of death in rehabilitated patients as measured using the BODE index.

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