Data examining the role of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) in interstitial lung disease (ILD) are limited. We tested the hypothesis that PR can improve functional status and dyspnea in a large group of patients with ILD, and that certain baseline patient variables can predict this improvement.
Data from patients who were referred to PR with a diagnosis of ILD were included. Baseline and post-PR variables were recorded, and changes in 6-min walk test (6MWT) distance and dyspnea were evaluated. The impact of baseline variables on change in 6MWT distance and dyspnea were analyzed.
A statistically significant difference was seen in both the change in Borg score and 6MWT distance after PR (p < 0.0001). These changes were consistent with previously established clinically significant differences. Baseline 6MWT distance was a significant predictor of change in 6MWT distance (p < 0.0001), with increasing baseline 6MWT distance predicting a smaller improvement after PR.
These results suggest that PR should be considered as a standard of care for patients with ILD.