Impact of exacerbations on adherence and outcomes of pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with COPD

Dionne C. W. Braeken*, Martijn A. Spruit, Sarah Houben-Wilke, Dionne E. Smid, Gernot G. U. Rohde, Emiel F. M. Wouters, Frits M. E. Franssen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background and objectiveDropout or lack of response is an important issue in pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), which underlines the need to identify predictors of dropout and response. Acute exacerbations (AEs) of COPD may influence dropout rates and PR response. We aimed to assess differences in dropout and outcomes of PR between COPD with and without AEs.

MethodsClinically stable patients with moderate-to-very severe COPD (age: 64.19.1years, 55.6% males, forced expiratory volume in 1s (FEV1 ): 48.620.0% predicted) were assessed during PR (inpatient and outpatient). Mild-to-moderate AEs were defined as the prescription of systemic glucocorticosteroids and/or antibiotics, following an acute increase in respiratory symptoms'. Severe AEs were defined as a hospital admission due to an AE'. Health status was measured by COPD Assessment Test (CAT), COPD-specific version of the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ-C) and Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ). Symptoms of anxiety and depression were measured by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Exercise capacity was measured with the 6-min walking test (6MWT) and constant work rate test (CWRT).

ResultsA total of 518 patients were assessed during a pre-rehabilitation assessment. Four hundred and seventy-six patients started PR, of whom 419 (88.0%) completed it. A larger proportion of patients who dropped out had a severe AE during PR (20.0% vs 3.5%, P

Conclusionresp12987-para-0006">Mild-to-moderate AEs do not affect dropout or response of PR, although severe AEs are associated with dropout. AEs should not lead to discontinuation of PR, as response is in general not affected.

resp12987-para-0007">Impact of mild-to-moderate and severe exacerbations on dropout and pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) in COPD were assessed. Mild-to-moderate exacerbations did not affect dropout or response to PR and should not lead to discontinuation of PR. Severe exacerbations are associated with dropout, but patients completing PR generally respond positively yet less pronounced

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-949
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • dropout
  • exacerbations
  • pulmonary rehabilitation
  • response

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