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Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2010 Mar;16(2):134-43. Vieira DS, Maltais F, Bourbeau J. Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit, Montreal Chest Institute, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation programs have been proposed as an alternative to hospital-based programs for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We undertook a systematic review of randomized studies on home-based pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with COPD which report health-related quality of life and/or exercise capacity, in order to assess the benefits of this intervention.

MAIN FINDINGS: From 888 identified references, 12 met the inclusion criteria. Overall, the methodological quality of the studies was average to poor. Eight studies compared home-based rehabilitation to standard care, three compared home-based rehabilitation to hospital-based programs and one included both comparisons. Most of the studies showed improvement in health-related quality of life (statistically and clinically significant) and exercise capacity following home-based rehabilitation as compared with standard care (no pulmonary rehabilitation). Studies that compared home-based pulmonary rehabilitation with hospital-based outpatient programs have not been able to show statistically and clinically significant differences for health-related quality of life and exercise capacity. Adverse events, usually mild, were reported in only two studies.

SUMMARY: Self-monitored, home-based rehabilitation may be an alternative to outpatient rehabilitation. These findings can help expand the recognition, application and accessibility of pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with COPD.

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