Pulmonary Rehabilitation* Joint ACCP/AACVPR Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines

Andrew L. Ries, MD, MPH, FCCP (Chair); Gerene S. Bauldoff, RN, PhD, FCCP; Brian W. Carlin, MD, FCCP; Richard Casaburi, PhD, MD, FCCP; Charles F. Emery, PhD; Donald A. Mahler, MD, FCCP; Barry Make, MD, FCCP; Carolyn L. Rochester, MD; Richard ZuWallack, MD, FCCP; Carla Herrerias, MPH


CHEST. 2007;131(5):4S-42S. 

In This Article

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation programs for patients with chronic lung diseases are well-established as a means of enhancing standard therapy in order to control and alleviate symptoms and optimize functional capacity.[2,4,14,20] The primary goal is to restore the patient to the highest possible level of independent function. This goal is accomplished by helping patients become more physically active, and to learn more about their disease, treatment options, and how to cope. Patients are encouraged to become actively involved in providing their own health care, more independent in daily activities, and less dependent on health professionals and expensive medical resources. Rather than focusing solely on reversing the disease process, rehabilitation attempts to reduce symptoms and reduce disability from the disease.

Many rehabilitation strategies have been developed for patients with disabling COPD. Programs typically include components such as patient assessment, exercise training, education, nutritional intervention, and psychosocial support. Pulmonary rehabilitation has also been applied successfully to patients with other chronic lung conditions such as interstitial diseases, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, and thoracic cage abnormalities.[21] In addition, it has been used successfully as part of the evaluation and preparation for surgical treatments such as lung transplantation and lung volume reduction surgery.[22,23,24,25,26] Pulmonary rehabilitation is appropriate for any stable patient with a chronic lung disease who is disabled by respiratory symptoms. Patients with advanced disease can benefit if they are selected appropriately and if realistic goals are set. Although pulmonary rehabilitation programs have been developed in both outpatient and inpatient settings, most programs, and most of the studies reviewed in this document, pertain to outpatient programs for ambulatory patients.


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