Survey of Exercise Prescription in US Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programs

Chris Garvey*, Richard Casaburi, Martijn A. Spruit, Jana De Brandt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)



Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is the standard of care for chronic, symptomatic lung disease. Current scientific and clinical guidelines recommend PR to improve dyspnea, functional capacity, and quality of life. Several PR guidelines provide recommendations about the mode, intensity, duration, frequency, and progression of exercise-based interventions. There are variations in the components of PR exercise prescription that may influence the response to PR, as well as variations in how the exercise prescription and its components are determined and monitored. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to identify current PR exercise prescription practices via survey sent to 1758 PR programs in the United States.


The American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation administered surveys in 2013 and 2016 to US-based PR providers.


Responses were returned from 371 PR providers (vs 380 in 2013). There was an increase in responses for all options describing exercise prescription methodology in the 2016 survey, with each element (frequency, intensity, time [duration], and type [mode]; FITT) demonstrating significant increase in use. There was a significant increase in 3 methods of determining exercise goals in 2016 versus 2013: duration (P = .017), distance (P = .010), and metabolic equivalents of task (P


The 2016 survey responses show a greater use of guideline-based exercise prescription methodology, with an increase in use of FITT methodology for exercise prescription.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-119
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • COPD
  • exercise
  • exercise prescription
  • outcomes
  • pulmonary rehabilitation

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