Pulmonary rehabilitation.


           Pulmonary rehabilitation


Pulmonary rehabilitation, also known as respiratory rehabilitation, is an important part of the management and health maintenance of people with chronic respiratory disease who remain symptomatic or continue to have decreased function despite standard medical treatment. It is a broad therapeutic concept. It is defined by the American Thoracic Society and the European Respiratory Society as an evidence-based, multidisciplinary, and comprehensive intervention for patients with chronic respiratory diseases who are symptomatic and often have decreased daily life activities. In general, pulmonary rehabilitation refers to a series of services that are administered to patients of respiratory disease and their families, typically to attempt to improve the quality of life for the patient. Pulmonary rehabilitation may be carried out in a variety of settings, depending on the patient's needs, and may or may not include pharmacologic intervention.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is generally specific to the individual patient, with the objective of meeting the needs of the patient. It is a broad program and may benefit patients with lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sarcoidosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and cystic fibrosis, among others. Although the process is focused primarily on the rehabilitation of the patient, the family is also involved. The process typically does not begin until a medical examination of the patient has been performed by a licensed physician,

The setting of pulmonary rehabilitation varies by the patient; settings may include inpatient care, outpatient care, the office of a physician, or the patient's home.

Although there are no universally accepted procedure codes for pulmonary rehabilitation, providers usually use codes for general therapeutic processes.

The goal of pulmonary rehabilitation is to help improve the well-being and quality of life of the patient and their families. Accordingly, programs typically focus on several aspects of the patient's recovery and can include medication management, exercise training, breathing retraining, education about the patient's lung disease and how to manage it, nutrition counseling, and emotional support.

Pharmacologic intervention

Medications may be used in the process of pulmonary rehabilitation including anti-inflammatory agents (inhaled steroids), bronchodilators, long-acting bronchodilators, beta-2 agonists, anticholinergic agents, oral steroids, antibiotics, mucolytic agents, oxygen therapy, or preventive healthcare (i.e., vaccination).


Exercise is the cornerstone of pulmonary rehabilitation programs. Although, exercise training does not directly improve lung function, it causes several physiological adaptations to exercise that can improve physical condition. There are three basic types of exercises to be considered. Aerobic exercise tends to improve the body's ability to use oxygen by decreasing the heart rate and blood pressure. Strengthening or resistance exercises can help build strength in the respiratory muscles. Stretching and flexibility exercises like yoga and Pilates can enhance breathing coordination. As exercise can trigger shortness of breath, it is important to build up the level of exercise gradually under the supervision of health care professionals (e.g., respiratory therapist, physiotherapist, exercise physiologist). Additionally, pursed-lip breathing can be used to increase the oxygen level in the patient's body. Breathing games can be used to motivate patients to learn pursed-lip breathing techniques.

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Rose Jackson

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Journal of lung