Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has proven useful in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but the benefits decrease over time. We evaluated the effects of a structured follow-up program after PR on patient pulmonary function, dyspnea, body composition, exercise capacity, quality of life, psychological status, i-BODE index, hospitalization status, 5-year survival rate. We explored whether this follow-up program could serve as a maintenance program. Materials and methods: COPD patients who completed PR attended follow-up visits over 5 years. We administered incremental (ISWT), endurance shuttle walk tests (ESWT), measured body (BMI), fat-free mass indices (FFMI), recorded modified Medical Research Council (mMRC), St. George's respiratory questionnaire (SGRQ), anxiety-depression scores. We also noted the forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), the forced vital capacity (FVC), the forced midexpiratory flow (FEF25-75), hospitalization, survival rates before, after PR, and in years 1, 2, 3, 5. This was a retrospective observational study. Results: Thirty-three COPD patients with a mean age of 58 ± 8 years were enrolled. Twenty-seven (82%) were male. The mean FEV1 was 47 ± 16% of the predicted. After PR, the mMRC scale, SGRQ, anxiety, depression scores; i-BODE index; ISWT, ESWT results improved (all p < 0.001), with the improvements persisting through the first year. Patient body composition, pulmonary function did not differ from the baseline over the 5 years (except for a decrease in the FEF25-75 value in year 5; p = 0.003). The hospitalization rate, i-BODE index did not change significantly over the 5 years, the improvements in the ISWT, ESWT outcomes were preserved for 3 years (p = 0.013/0.005, respectively). The quality-of-life, anxiety scores deteriorated in year 1 (both p < 0.001) and year 3 (p = 0.005/0.010, respectively). The dyspnea, depression scores increased progressively over the 5 years. Conclusion: Structured follow-up programs with visits at 6-month intervals may effectively maintain improvements in COPD. Longterm randomized controlled studies are needed to verify these results.

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