Improvements in exercise capacity during a 4-weeks pulmonary rehabilitation program for COPD patients do not correspond with improvements in self-reported health status or quality of life.
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Ninety-two patients with moderate or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were assessed for walking tolerance, lung function, perceived health status (HS), perceived quality of life (QoL) and anxiety before and after a four weeks inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program. There were significant improvements on all outcomes except anxiety, although the effect sizes were small or moderate. The largest improvement was observed on the walking test, but patients also improved on perceived health status (HS) and perceived quality of life (QoL). Relations between outcome indicators were analyzed cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Cross-sectional correlations were in line with earlier studies. However, improvements on the walking test were generally unrelated to changes in lung function, HS and QoL. Different patients improve on different outcome measures following PR, and this could have implications for the planning and designs of PR programs.
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