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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Highly Effective but Often Overlooked.

  • Author(s): Arnold, Michael T
  • Dolezal, Brett A
  • Cooper, Christopher B
  • et al.

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease receive a range of treatments including but not limited to inhaled bronchodilators, inhaled and systemic corticosteroids, supplemental oxygen, and pulmonary rehabilitation. Pulmonary rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary intervention that seeks to combine patient education, exercise, and lifestyle changes into a comprehensive program. Programs 6 to 8 weeks in length have been shown to improve health, reduce dyspnea, increase exercise capacity, improve psychological well-being, and reduce healthcare utilization and hospitalization. Although the use of pulmonary rehabilitation is widely supported by the literature, controversy still exists regarding what should be included in the programs. The goal of this review was to summarize the evidence for pulmonary rehabilitation and identify the areas that hold promise in improving its utilization and effectiveness.

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