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      Digitalizing multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD with a smartphone application: an international observational pilot study

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          Concerning COPD, pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has a positive effect on disease progression and mortality, is cost-effective, and is a part of recommendations of international guidelines. Only a minority of patients profit from conventional PR due to a lack of resources, physicians’ guideline adherence, or patients’ motivation. Novel digital therapies like Kaia COPD, a smartphone application that digitizes PR in COPD, are promising solutions to fill this void.


          Kaia COPD provides a digital version of PR and is certified as a class-I medical device in the European Union. We investigated anonymized data from users of the Kaia COPD app on in-app retention and the change in health-related quality of life (COPD assessment test and Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire [CRQ]) during a period of 20 exercise days with the app.


          Of 349 app downloads, 56 users fulfilled inclusion criteria and 34 (61%) had finished day 20 at the time of analysis and were included. Users took 33±11 days to complete the 20-day core program. Users finishing the program reduced their COPD assessment test scores (mean 2.5 units from 21.6±7.7 to 19.1±8.4 units, P=0.008). In finishers, there was a statistically significant effect above the minimum clinically important threshold of the CRQ score on the domains of fatigue, mastery, and emotional function. There was a statistically significant but not clinically relevant effect on the domain of dyspnea of CRQ.


          Digitalizing PR with a smartphone app is feasible and accepted by selected patients. The app leads to short-term improvement of health-related quality of life in patients completing a 20-day core program. Due to its observational character, this study has several methodological limitations and was intended to show the feasibility and to extrapolate effect sizes for planned prospective randomized-controlled trials to confirm these findings.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Global strategy for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. NHLBI/WHO Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) Workshop summary.

           ,  Suzanne Hurd,  P Calverley (2001)
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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 COPD assessment test (CAT): response to pulmonary rehabilitation. A multicentre, prospective study.

              The COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) assessment test (CAT) is a recently introduced, simple to use patient-completed quality of life instrument that contains eight questions covering the impact of symptoms in COPD. It is not known how the CAT score performs in the context of clinical pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programmes or what the minimum clinically important difference is. The introduction of the CAT score as an outcome measure was prospectively studied by PR programmes across London. It was used alongside other measures including the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire, the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire, the Clinical COPD Questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression score, the Medical Research Council (MRC) dyspnoea score and a range of different walking tests. Patients completed a 5-point anchor question used to assess overall response to PR from 'I feel much better' to 'I feel much worse'. Data were available for 261 patients with COPD participating in seven programmes: mean (SD) age 69.0 (9.0) years, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) 51.1 (18.7) % predicted, MRC score 3.2 (1.0). Mean change in CAT score after PR was 2.9 (5.6) points, improving by 3.8 (6.1) points in those scoring 'much better' (n=162), and by 1.3(4.5) in those who felt 'a little better' (n=88) (p=0.002). Only eight individuals reported no difference after PR and three reported feeling 'a little worse', so comparison with these smaller groups was not possible. The CAT score is simple to implement as an outcome measure, it improves in response to PR and can distinguish categories of response.

                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
                23 November 2018
                : 13
                : 3831-3836
                [1 ]Lung Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Cantonal Hospital St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland, frank.rassouli@
                [2 ]Kaia Health GmbH, Munich, Germany
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Frank Rassouli, Lung Center, Cantonal Hospital St Gallen, Rorschacher Strasse 95, CH-9007 St Gallen, Switzerland, Tel +41 71 494 6020, Email frank.rassouli@
                © 2018 Rassouli 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

                copd, pulmonary rehabilitation, telehealth care, telerehabilitation


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