Randomized controlled trial of community-based, post-rehabilitation exercise in COPD

Stacey J. Butler, Laura Desveaux, Annemarie L. Lee, Marla K. Beauchamp, Natasha K. Brusco, Wei Wang, Roger S. Goldstein, Dina Brooks

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Purpose: Although pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) improves function in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a community-based exercise program may be necessary to maintain functional capacity. We aimed to determine the effectiveness of a post-rehabilitation, community-based maintenance program on exercise tolerance, functional capacity and quality of life. Methods: Patients with COPD who completed PR were randomized to receive a community-based maintenance program (intervention) or usual care (control). The primary outcome was 6-min walk distance (6MWD), measured immediately post-PR, 6 months and 12 months later. Secondary outcomes included self-reported functional capacity, health-related quality of life, self-efficacy, program cost, and lower extremity muscle strength. Results: Ninety-seven patients (69 ± 9 years) were enrolled. There was a non-significant trend of an intervention effect on 6MWD over time (β = 42, 95% CI: 0.06 to 83.93, p = 0.053). There was no significant impact of group on any of the secondary outcomes. Restricting the analysis to those who attended ≥50% of the exercise sessions showed a significant intervention effect for 6MWD (β = 69.19, 95% CI = 10.16 to 128.22, p = 0.03). The cost of participating in the community maintenance program for the intervention group was $374.77 (SD 142.12) and membership renewal was highest at community centres offering twice weekly, supervised exercise classes. Conclusions: A post rehabilitation, community-based exercise program, will maintain exercise capacity in people with COPD who attend at least 50% of available sessions over one year. An increased focus on factors that determine adherence would help inform improvements in maintenance program design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106195
Number of pages8
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Community
  • COPD
  • Exercise

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