PURPOSE: This study examines the effect of psychotherapy on anxiety, exercise tolerance, and dyspnoea.
METHODS: 10 patients with stable COPD (mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) =1.25 L) had six 90 min sessions of cognitive and behavioural psychotherapy at weekly intervals. Patients completed the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), 1 day before and 1 weeks after therapy. FEV1, forced vital capacity (FVC), blood gas tensions and 6 min walking distance (6MWD) were measured. 10 control patients attended weekly for lung function and 6MWD for 6 weeks, but had no psychotherapy.
RESULTS: There were no differences in mean baseline (BAI) score, lung function, blood gas tensions or 6MWD between groups. After treatment, the BAI score had decreased from 43.10 to 20.6 (p< 0.001), in association, the mean 6MWD had also improved in the psychotherapy group only, from 333 to 559 m (p<0.001), an increase of 75%.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, six sessions of cognitive and behavioural psychotherapy produced a good improvement in exercise tolerance in anxious patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Pink puffer).
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Attempts at improving dyspnoea, by means of psychotherapy, relaxation and retraining of breathing patterns.
DISCLOSURE: Sherif Elsayed, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information