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J Rehabil Med. 2010 Apr;42(4):362-7. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0512.

Characteristics of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease choosing rehabilitation.

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Faculty of Nursing, Department of Nursing, Sør-Trøndelag University College, Trondheim, Norway.



To identify and compare objective and self-perceived characteristics of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, who do and do not choose rehabilitation.


The study comprised 205 consecutive patients with mild to very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They chose either inpatient rehabilitation (n = 161) or ordinary outpatient consultations (n = 44).


Disease severity was assessed with spirometric tests, health-related quality of life was assessed with the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire, and mental status was measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Socio-demographic and social characteristics, and co-morbidity variables were available.


Patients in the rehabilitation group had a lower level of overall health-related quality of life (63.8 vs 47.6, p = 0.000) and a higher prevalence of anxiety (34.6% vs 13.6%, p = 0.007) than the outpatients. The outpatients received more psychological support from spouse/partner than patients in the rehabilitation group (70.5% vs 49.1%, p = 0.012). There were no differences in disease severity and co-morbidity.


The decision to choose rehabilitation may be determined by impaired health-related quality of life, psychological distress and lack of psychological support from a significant other. Our findings suggest that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are conscious of their overall health status and the necessary treatment to maintain or improve it.

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