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Aust Health Rev. 2008 Aug;32(3):415-22.

Reduction in hospitalisation following pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with COPD.

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Physiotherapy Department, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Hospital Avenue, Nedlands, Perth, WA 6009, Australia.



Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) improves exercise capacity and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and reduces health care utilisation. This study quantified outcomes of a PR program over a 6-year period and determined the effects of PR on hospitalisation.


Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disesae (COPD) who entered an 8-week outpatient PR program from 1998 to 2003 were included. Functional exercise capacity (6-minute walk distance [6MWD]) and HRQoL (Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire) were measured before and following PR. The number of hospital admissions and total bed-days due to a COPD exacerbation in the 12 months before and following PR were recorded.


Physiotherapy Department, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Western Australia.


187 (73%) of the 256 patients who entered PR completed the program. Improvements in 6MWD (404.2 +/- 114.6 m to 439.6 +/- 115.0m, P < 0.001) and HRQoL (4.1 +/- 0.9 points per item to 4.9 +/- 0.9 points per item, P < 0.001) occurred following PR. There was a 46% reduction in the number of patients admitted to hospital (71 to 38) with a COPD exacerbation and a 62% reduction in total bed-days (1131 to 432) following PR.


Pulmonary rehabilitation provided in an Australian teaching hospital was associated with a reduction in COPD hospitalisation, and the resultant savings outweighed the costs of providing the program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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