Background: Pulmonary rehabilitation has shown significant benefit for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The effect on non-COPD pulmonary patients is less well established.
Objectives: To determine whether pulmonary rehabilitation is also beneficial for non-COPD pulmonary patients.
Methods: Clinical and demographic data on non-COPD pulmonary patients who participated in our institutional pulmonary rehabilitation program between January 2009 and December 2016 were collected. Participants engaged in a 60-minute, twice-weekly, ambulatory hospital-based program lasting 12 to 24 sessions. Sessions included both endurance and muscle training as well as healthy lifestyle educational activities. The six-minute walk test (6MWT) and the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) were conducted before and after the rehabilitation program.
Result: We recruited 214 non-COPD patients, of whom 153 completed at least 12 sessions. Of these, 59 presented with interstitial lung disease (ILD), 18 with non-ILD restrictive lung defects, 25 with asthma, 30 with lung cancer, and 21 with other conditions (e.g., pulmonary hypertension, bronchiectasis) The groups demonstrated significant improvement in 6MWT and in SGRQ scores. Non-COPD patients gained a 61.9 meter (19%) improvement in the 6MWT (P < 0.0001) and 8.3 point reduction in their SGRQ score (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Pulmonary rehabilitation is effective in non-COPD pulmonary patients. As such, it should be an integral part of the treatment armament provided to the vast majority of those suffering from chronic respiratory disease.