Current best practice in pulmonary rehabilitation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
AbstractChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic condition that negatively affects several patient-centered outcomes. Among these, exercise capacity, dyspnea, and quality of life are the most relevant. In this article, factors contributing to exercise limitation, increase in exercise-induced dyspnea, quality of life deterioration, and other pathophysiological aspects in patients with COPD are analyzed in detail. Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary, and comprehensive intervention for patients with chronic respiratory diseases who are symptomatic and often have decreased daily life activities. PR has been clearly shown to induce favorable and long-lasting effects on all patient-centered outcomes. In addition, PR appears to have positive (even if not conclusively demonstrated) effects on other important outcomes in patients with COPD: number and severity of exacerbations, healthcare resource utilization, and survival. The organization of PR treatment, its components, outcome assessment, and future directions are discussed in light of the most robust scientific evidence.