Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2013 Aug;49(4):491-7. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

A long-term pulmonary rehabilitation program progressively improves exercise tolerance, quality of life and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with COPD.

Author information

Physical Therapy School, Augusto Motta University Centre (UNISUAM), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -



Support and treatment options have been widely discussed in recent decades with the aim of improving morbidity, mortality and quality of life of chronic respiratory disease (COPD) patients. Although it is believed that longer pulmonary rehabilitation programs can provide better results, most of the evidence comes from short-term programs.


To determine the effects of an outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program on exercise tolerance, dyspnoea, hemodynamic variables and quality of life.


Case series study.


Rehabilitation Centre.


A convenience sample of COPD patients was enrolled in this study. The intervention consisted of a 96-wk exercise training program, including aerobic training, upper-limb exercises and inspiratory muscle training. Pulmonary function tests, blood biochemistry, six-minute walking distance test and health-related quality of life were recorded at baseline and after completion of the 6th, 12th, 18th, 24th months.


Forty one consecutive COPD patients were recruited and thirty six completed the study. There was a significant improvement in hemodynamics, demonstrated by the gradual reduction in heart rate, blood pressure and MvO2 (double product) starting from the 12th month. Lipid profile showed a reduction of low density lipids and an increase of the high density lipids levels starting from the 6th month. Exercise tolerance, dyspnoea, respiratory muscle strength and quality of life also improved starting from the 6th month.


A 24-month pulmonary rehabilitation program leads to a progressive improvement in quality of life, dyspnoea and exercise tolerance, and reduces cardiovascular risk factors in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Our study suggests that long-term pulmonary rehabilitation programs can result in further improvements in the aforementioned cardiorespiratory variables.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Minerva Medica
Loading ...
Support Center