Effectiveness of perioperative pulmonary rehabilitation in thoracic surgery

Attila Vagvogyi, Zsolt Rozgonyi, Maria Kerti, Paul Vadasz, Janos Varga


Background: Functional condition is crucial for operability of patients with lung cancer and/or chronic respiratory diseases. The aim of the study was to measure changes of functional and quality of life parameters in terms of the effectiveness of perioperative pulmonary rehabilitation (PR).
Methods: A total of 208 COPD patients (age: 63±9 years, man/woman: 114/94, FEV1: 62±14 %pred) participated in a perioperative PR program. The indication was primary lung cancer in 72% of the patients. The 68 patients participated in preoperative (PRE) rehabilitation, 72 in a pre- and postoperative rehabilitation (PPO) and 68 patients only in postoperative rehabilitation (POS). PR program included respiratory training techniques, individualized training and smoking cessation. Lung function tests, 6 minutes walking distance (6MWD) were measured before and after the rehabilitation. Quality of life tests [COPD Assessment Test (CAT) and Modified Medical Research Council Dyspnoea Scale (mMRC)] were evaluated as well.
Results: There was a significant improvement in FEV1 (PRE: 64±16 vs. 67±16 %pred; PPO: 60±13 vs. 66±13 %pred before the operation, 48±13 vs. 52±13 %pred after the operation; POS: 56±16 vs. 61±14 %pred, P<0.05) and 6MWD (PRE: 403±87 vs. 452±86 m; PPO: 388±86 vs. 439±83 m before, 337±111 vs. 397±105 m after the operation; POS: 362±89 vs. 434±94 m, P<0 0001). Significant improvement was detected in FVC, grip strength, mMRC and CAT questionnaires as an effectiveness of PR, also. Average intensive care duration was 3.8±5.2 days with vs. 3.1±3.6 without preoperative PR.
Conclusions: Improvements in exercise capacity and quality of life were seen following PR both before and after thoracic surgery.