Multidimensional outcome assessment of pulmonary rehabilitation in traits-based clusters of COPD patients

Ingrid M L Augustin*, Frits M E Franssen, Sarah Houben-Wilke, Daisy J A Janssen, Swetlana Gaffron, Herman-Jan Pennings, Frank W J M Smeenk, Willem R Pieters, Amber Hoogerwerf, Arent-Jan Michels, Frits van Merode, Emiel F M Wouters, Martijn A Spruit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Clusters of COPD patients have been reported in order to individualize the treatment program. Neither co-morbidity clusters, nor integrated respiratory physiomics clusters contributed to a better prediction of outcomes. Based on a thoroughly assessed set of pulmonary and extra-pulmonary traits at the start of a pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program, we recently described seven clusters of COPD patients. The aims of this study are to confirm multidimensional differential response and to assess the potential of pulmonary and extra-pulmonary traits-based clusters to predict this multidimensional response to PR pulmonary in COPD patients.

METHODS: Outcomes of a 40-session PR program for COPD patients, referred by a chest physician, were evaluated based on the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for 6-minute walk distance (6MWD), cycle endurance time, Canadian Occupational Performance Measure performance and satisfaction scores, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale anxiety and depression scores, MRC dyspnea grade and St George's Respiratory Questionnaire. The aforementioned response indicators were used to calculate the overall multidimensional response and patients were grouped in very good, good, moderate and poor responders. In the same way, responses to pulmonary rehabilitation were compared based on seven previously identified pulmonary and extra-pulmonary traits-based clusters.

RESULTS: Of the whole sample, drop out was 19% and 419 patients (55.4% males, age: 64.3 ± 8.8, FEV1% of predicted: 48.9 ± 20) completed the pulmonary rehabilitation program. Very good responders had significantly worse baseline characteristics with a higher burden of disease, a higher proportion of rollator-users, higher body mass index (BMI), more limitations of activities in daily life, emotional dysfunction, higher symptoms of dyspnea and worse quality of life. Of the seven pre-identified clusters, 'the overall best functioning cluster' and 'the low disease burden cluster' both including the best 6MWD, the lowest dyspnea score and the overall best health status, demonstrated attenuated outcomes, while in 'the cluster of disabled patients', 76% of the patients improved health status with at least 2 times MCID. This 'cluster of disabled patients' as well as 'the multimorbid cluster', 'the emotionally dysfunctioning cluster', 'the overall worst-functioning cluster' and 'the physically dysfunctioning cluster' all demonstrated improvements in performance and satisfaction for occupational activities (more than 65% of patients improved with > 1MCID), emotional functioning (more than 50% of patients improved with > 1 MCID) and overall health status (more than 58%).

CONCLUSION: The current study confirms the differential response to pulmonary rehabilitation based on multidimensional response profiling. Cluster analysis of baseline traits illustrates that non-linear, clinically important differences can be achieved in the most functionally and emotionally impaired clusters and that 'the overall best functional cluster' as well as 'the low disease burden cluster' had an attenuated outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0263657
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2022


  • Canada/epidemiology
  • Dyspnea/epidemiology
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/epidemiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

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