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      Determinants of successful completion of pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD

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          Despite known benefits, a significant proportion of patients with COPD do not complete pulmonary rehabilitation (PR). Little is known regarding which factors promote successful completion of PR.


          We analyzed data from a prospectively maintained database of subjects with COPD who attended a PR program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, from 1996 to 2013. Subjects were categorized as either completers or non-completers, based on successful completion of at least 8 weeks of PR. Demographics and comorbidities were recorded. Short Form 36 Health Survey, Beck Depression Inventory-II, and San Diego Shortness of Breath Questionnaire were administered to all participants at baseline and on completion of PR to assess participants’ perception of their health status, severity of depression, and dyspnea with performance of activities of daily living. Univariate and multivariable analyses were performed to identify predictors of successful completion of PR.


          Four hundred and forty subjects were included, of whom 229 completed PR. Forty-one percent were female, and 17% were African American. Compared with non-completers, completers had greater Short Form 36 Health Survey pain score, lower forced expiratory volume in the first second, and lower Beck Depression Inventory score, and included a lower percentage of current smokers. On multivariate analysis, cigarette smoking at enrollment was associated with lower likelihood of completion of PR (adjusted odds ratio 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.16–0.90; P=0.02).


          Cigarette smoking was the sole independent predictor of PR dropout, and smoking cessation may warrant greater emphasis prior to enrollment.

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          Most cited references 31

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          American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society statement on pulmonary rehabilitation.

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            Pulmonary rehabilitation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

            Widespread application of pulmonary rehabilitation (also known as respiratory rehabilitation) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should be preceded by demonstrable improvements in function (health-related quality of life, functional and maximal exercise capacity) attributable to the programmes. This review updates the review reported in 2006.
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              The minimal important difference of exercise tests in severe COPD.

               Milo A. Puhan,  Robert Wise,   (2011)
              Our aim was to determine the minimal important difference (MID) for 6-min walk distance (6MWD) and maximal cycle exercise capacity (MCEC) in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 1,218 patients enrolled in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial completed exercise tests before and after 4-6 weeks of pre-trial rehabilitation, and 6 months after randomisation to surgery or medical care. The St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (domain and total scores) and University of California San Diego Shortness of Breath Questionnaire (total score) served as anchors for anchor-based MID estimates. In order to calculate distribution-based estimates, we used the standard error of measurement, Cohen's effect size and the empirical rule effect size. Anchor-based estimates for the 6MWD were 18.9 m (95% CI 18.1-20.1 m), 24.2 m (95% CI 23.4-25.4 m), 24.6 m (95% CI 23.4-25.7 m) and 26.4 m (95% CI 25.4-27.4 m), which were similar to distribution-based MID estimates of 25.7, 26.8 and 30.6 m. For MCEC, anchor-based estimates for the MID were 2.2 W (95% CI 2.0-2.4 W), 3.2 W (95% CI 3.0-3.4 W), 3.2 W (95% CI 3.0-3.4 W) and 3.3 W (95% CI 3.0-3.5 W), while distribution-based estimates were 5.3 and 5.5 W. We suggest a MID of 26 ± 2 m for 6MWD and 4 ± 1 W for MCEC for patients with severe COPD.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                25 February 2016
                : 11
                : 391-397
                [1 ]Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Birmingham, AL, USA
                [2 ]Department of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Birmingham, AL, USA
                [3 ]UAB Lung Health Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
                [4 ]Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Birmingham, AL, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Surya P Bhatt, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, THT 422, 1720, 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA, Email spbhatt@
                © 2016 Brown et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                pulmonary rehabilitation, copd, completion


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