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Only one in ten COPD patients receive post-admission pulmonary rehab

Last Update 06/04/2021

A new study from the UK suggests pulmonary rehabilitation is under-used.


Only 10% of people with COPD who are discharged after treatment for an exacerbation receive pulmonary rehabilitation – even though a service was in place – claim researchers in the UK.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a short course of regular exercise that aims to reduce the impact COPD has on a person’s quality of life.

Guidelines from the European Respiratory Society (ERS) suggest that pulmonary rehabilitation can reduce the severity of symptoms and increase a person’s ability to participate in everyday activities.

In the new study, researchers conducted a 12-month audit of data in London. They found that out of 448 discharges from hospital for COPD exacerbations only 43 were referred to and completed pulmonary rehabilitation, despite a service being available nearby.

90 referrals for post-hospitalisation rehabilitation had been made, but some patients did not start the process and others completed only part of it.

Lead researcher Sarah Jones, said: “Despite the strong evidence base, there are poor referral and uptake rates for early outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation following hospitalisation for acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

Read the full research paper

Read the full news article

Read the patient version of the ERS guidelines on pulmonary rehabilitation (PDF)

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