Efficacy of Online Pulmonary Rehabilitation for COPD Evaluated

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Study results challenge conventional thinking about pulmonary rehabilitation programs.
Study results challenge conventional thinking about pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

HealthDay News — A novel online pulmonary rehabilitation program is non-inferior to conventional face-to-face pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society (ATS), held from May 19-24 in Washington, DC.

Tom Wilkinson, MBBS, PhD, from Southampton General Hospital in the United Kingdom, and colleagues randomized 90 patients with moderate COPD in a 2:1 ratio to online (64 participants) or face-to-face (26 participants) pulmonary rehabilitation. The 6-minute walking distance test (6MWT) and COPD Assessment Test (CAT) scores were assessed as co-primary outcomes at completion of the program.

The researchers found that for the intention-to-treat (ITT) population, the adjusted mean difference for the 6MWT was 23.8 m, with the lower 95% CI above the non-inferiority threshold of -40.5 m (95% CI, -4.5 to 52.2 m). Similar results were seen in the per-protocol (PP) population (mean adjusted difference of 15 m; 95% CI,-13.7 to 43.8 m). The difference in the CAT score was -1.0 in the ITT population in favor of the online intervention, with the upper 95% CI below the non-inferiority threshold of 1.8 (95% CI-2.9 to 0.86); similar results were seen in the PP analysis.

"This study challenges the paradigm that pulmonary rehabilitation needs to be delivered using a conventional face-to-face class-based approach," Wilkinson said in a statement.

Reference

Online pulmonary rehabilitation not inferior to face-to-face rehab [news release]. Washington, DC: American Thoracic Society. https://www.thoracic.org/about/newsroom/press-releases/conference/2017/wilkinson-online-pulmonary-rehab.php. Published May 23, 2017. Accessed June 2, 2017.