PURPOSE: Pulmonary rehabilitation is an integral part of management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). There have been numerous studies showing the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation, but there are no studies to evaluate the safety of pulmonary rehabilitation. We underwent a study of mortality at three of our local pulmonary rehabilitation facilities.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart analysis of COPD patients participating in three pulmonary rehabilitation facilities that have completed their rehabilitation in 2006. These charts were evaluated for mortality associated with active participation in pulmonary rehabilitation.
RESULTS: A total of 237 participants were included in the study. They performed a total of 4007 sessions lasting approximately 10017.5 hours. We found a single mortality associated with an episode of syncope that eventually led to a cardiac arrest in the emergency room. The syncope occurred while the person was walking on a treadmill. Statistical analysis by logistic regression using age, gender and number of sessions as independent variable did not show a statistically significant correlation with mortality.
CONCLUSION: Our retrospective analysis shows that supervised pulmonary rehabilitation may have some mortality risk. We did not find a statistically significant mortality risk associated with the study at our centers. Larger prospective observational studies need to be performed to better judge the statistical significance of mortality in pulmonary rehabilitation.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Mortality associated with pulmonary rehabilitation is low. Pulmonary rehabilitation is a safe form of treatment in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
DISCLOSURE: Vijay Subramaniam, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information