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Keywords:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • Hong Kong;
  • primary care;
  • pulmonary rehabilitation;
  • randomized controlled trial;
  • tiotropium

Summary

Objective:  To evaluate whether multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation programme (PRP) provides additional benefit over tiotropium therapy in managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in primary care.

Design:  A randomized controlled trial to analyse the difference in outcomes of COPD patients receiving tiotropium plus PRP vs. tiotropium treatment alone.

Setting:  Two primary care teaching clinics affiliated with a university which serves a population of 600 000.

Participants:  Fifty primary care COPD patients.

Methods:  Fifty subjects underwent spirometry and their status of COPD was confirmed by using the Vitalograph Gold Standard. They were then assessed by the 6-min walking distance (6MWD), Peak Visual Analogue Scale (Peak VAS) and Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire (CRQ). All subjects were given tiotropium to optimize their treatment. After a 6-week period, half were randomized to the intervention group (i.e. receiving PRP), whereas the rest were randomized to control group which received only medication. Spirometry, 6MWD, Peak VAS and CRQ were performed in both groups at 6 weeks, 12 weeks and 3 months.

Outcomes:  Spirometry, 6MWD, Peak VAS and CRQ.

Results:  Significant improvement (P < 0·05) was seen in 6MWD, symptoms of dyspnoea measured by Peak VAS and CRQ. The improvement was sustained at 3-month follow-up. However, no additional significant improvement was seen in the intervention group when compared with control.

Conclusion:  Tiotropium therapy has improved health outcomes in COPD patients in primary care settings. A 6 weekly PRP did not give any additional benefits in patients already given tiotropium.