PURPOSE: The benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with COPD are well established. However, evidence of its benefits in interstitial lung disease (ILD) is limited. The purpose of this study was to assess changes in 6 minute walk test (6MWT) distance, dyspnea and exercise endurance in patients with ILD.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed patients with ILD who completed a 6 week, biweekly outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program. This included supervised exercise training, physical and respiratory care instruction, education and psychosocial support. Pre and post-rehabilitation 6MWT and exercise treadmill test were performed. Peak exercise shortness of breath during 6MWT was measured using the Borg dyspnea scale.
RESULTS: There were 21 patients in our cohort with a mean age of 65 years (SD = 15) and a mean predicted DLCO of 40% (SD = 13). Eighteen had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, 2 had lymphangioleiomyomatosis and 1 had scleroderma ILD. Mean pre-rehabilitation 6MWT distance was 1182 feet (SD = 372), mean treadmill distance was 2154 feet (SD = 1811), and mean Borg dyspnea score was 5.4 (SD = 1.34). Mean post-rehabilitation 6MWT distance improved by 110 feet (SD = 208, P < 0.006), mean treadmill distance improved by 3548 feet (SD = 2443, P < 0.001) and mean Borg dyspnea score improved by 0.8 (SD = 1.7, P = 0.06).
CONCLUSION: Pulmonary rehabilitation improves functional capacity in patients with ILD.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Pulmonary rehabilitation should be considered standard therapy for ILD. Future research should aim to confirm these findings, investigate long-term benefits and develop exercise and education components specifically tailored to this patient population.
DISCLOSURE: Cyrus Shariat, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information