Benefits and risks

Pulmonary rehabilitation is the best therapeutic strategy to improve a patient's shortness of breath, exercise endurance and quality of life when compared to providing only standard care. (Lacasse et al., 2006)

The benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation are numerous. More and more probative data have substantiated these benefits, as evidenced by the recent recommendations made by the Joint American College of Chest Physicians / American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

Some of the principal documented benefits:

  • Reduction of the symptoms experienced by patients with COPD
  • AImprovements to the quality of life for patients with COPD
  • Reduction in the number of days of hospitalization and the use of other health care services for patients with COPD

Some of the other benefits:

  • Low- and high-intensity exercises give rise to clinical benefits for patients with COPD.
  • When high-intensity exercises of the lower limbs are given precedence, they generate greater physiological benefits for patients with COPD.
  • Psychosocial benefits have been linked to pulmonary rehabilitation programs for patients with COPD.

The risks

Very few risks have been associated with pulmonary rehabilitation when the program is properly adapted to the patient. Obviously, it's necessary to pay special attention to older patients and patients grappling with a coronary disease. Suffice to then personalize the exercise component based upon the patient's condition. A medical exam is necessary to ensure that the patient has a stable medical condition or conditions.