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Respir Med. 2009 Mar;103(3):471-6. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2008.09.007. Epub 2008 Nov 1.

Use of functional independence measure in rehabilitation of inpatients with respiratory failure.

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Centre of Pulmonary Medicine and Rehabilitation, San Raffaele-Velletri (Tosinvest Sanità), Rome, Italy.


Most outcomes do not deeply express the degree of disability in patients with respiratory failure (RF) following inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation (IPR). The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of an IPR in patients with confirmed COPD and RF using functional independence measure (FIM) that determines the degree of disability experienced by patients and the progress they make during rehabilitation. This scale includes several items: self care, mobility, locomotion, communication and social recognition. Twenty-two patients (age 70+/-2 years, PO(2) 58.18+/-7.63mmHg, PCO(2) 46.82+/-9.11mmHg) were prospectively observed and studied. IPR included respiratory and peripheral muscle training, mucus evacuation techniques, and energy conservation techniques. FIM, Medical Research Council dyspnoea scale (MRC), St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), and 6-min walking distance (6-MWD) were assessed on admission (pre) and discharge (post) from IPR. After IPR there was a statistically significant improvement (p<0.01) in all the FIM items (total score in self care, mobility, locomotion, social recognition) except for communication. Changes of MRC (pre 4.32+/-0.84; post 3.00+/-1.15, p<0.001), SGRQ (%) (pre 69.86+/-4.62; post 46.50+/-11.94, p<0.001), and 6-MWD (pre 164.54+/-98.63; post 214.32+/-97.64, p<0.001) paralleled those improvements. An inverse correlation between MRC and FIM (r=-0.5042, p=0.016) was observed. Our preliminary study has shown that the benefits of IPR in COPD with RF do not only translate in dyspnoea, exercise capacity and quality of life but also within neuromotor disabilities as assessed by FIM. Our results warrant future studies in pulmonary rehabilitation using FIM as an outcome measure.

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