Pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with interstitial lung diseases: Correlates of success

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Background and aim: Benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation in Interstitial Lung Diseases (ILD) have been reported. The aim of this large multicenter study was to identify the success predictors of pulmonary rehabilitation in a real-life setting. Methods: Data of 240 in-patients (110 idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), 106 ILD other than IPF and 24 undetermined ILD) undergoing pulmonary rehabilitation in a 10-year period were retrospectively evaluated. Six minute walking distance (6MWT), body weight–walking distance product tests, dyspnoea and arterial blood gases were assessed at admission and discharge. Differences in post rehabilitation changes in outcome measures as function of baseline characteristics were evaluated. Results: After rehabilitation, patients showed improvements in all outcome measures (p < 0.05), regardless of the underlying diagnosis or disease severity. Patients needing oxygen therapy at rest showed reduced benefits. Baseline 6MWD inversely correlated with its changes at discharge. Non-significant greater benefits after rehabilitation were found in IPF patients under antifibrotic therapy. In a subset of 50 patients assessed on average 10.3 ± 3.5 months after discharge, the benefits in 6MWD were not maintained (312.9 ± 139.4, 369.7 ± 122.5 and 310.8 ± 139.6 m at admission, discharge and follow up respectively: p < 0.0001). Conclusion: Pulmonary rehabilitation may improve dyspnoea, exercise capacity and fatigue in patients with ILD of different aethiologies and level of severity. The long-term effects need to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106473
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2021


  • Antifibrotic therapy
  • Dyspnoea
  • Exercise capacity
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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