Pulmonary Rehabilitation Is Underused in COPD Patients

Less than 10% of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) eligible for pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) are referred to the treatment, despite previous research suggesting that PR can reduce hospital admissions for acute exacerbations.

For their study, researchers used anonymized data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink and Hospital Episode Statistics to compare hospital admissions and GP visits for acute exacerbations of COPD 1 year prior to and 1 year following PR and in individuals eligible for PR who were referred and those not referred.

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Overall, 69,089 patients were eligible for PR, of whom only 6436 were referred for rehabilitation. A total of 62,019 were not referred, and 643 declined referral.

“This study found that < 10% of patients who were eligible for PR were actually referred. Patients who were eligible and referred for (but not necessarily completed) PR did not have fewer GP visits and hospitalizations for acute exacerbations of COPD in the year following PR compared with those not referred or compared with the year prior to PR,” the researchers concluded.

—Michael Potts


Moore E, Newson R, Joshi M, et al. Effects of pulmonary rehabilitation on exacerbation number and severity in people with COPD [published online May 16, 2017]. doi: