Study demonstrates benefits of pulmonary rehab

Sunday, May 14, 2006

NEW YORK - Pulmonary rehabilitation appears to decrease psychosocial illnesses, including depression and anxiety, in people who suffer from severe COPD, even without a specific psychological intervention, according to a study published in the April issue of Chest.

Pulmonary rehab also has a positive impact on exercise capacity and health-related quality of life, researchers reported.

Dr. Rosa Guell, of Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau, Barcelona, and colleagues examined the various effects of pulmonary rehab in 40 patients with severe COPD who were randomized to 16 weeks of pulmonary rehab, which included breathing retraining and exercise, or to no intervention--the control group.

After four months, the pulmonary rehab group had better scores than the control group for several behavioral health outcomes. They also showed significant improvements in areas like depression, hostility, anxiety and COPD symptom severity, reported Reuters Health.

Moreover, the pulmonary rehab group posted significant increases over baseline in distance walked in 6 minutes whereas the control group showed a decline in this test.

"The new contribution of our study lies in the fact that the pulmonary rehabilitation improves not only depression and anxiety but also impacts on other psychosocial morbidity," the researchers concluded.