Pulmonary rehabilitation benefits cognition in patients with COPD

21 Jul 2021
Pulmonary rehabilitation benefits cognition in patients with COPD

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) may do well to undergo pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), which has been shown to exert positive effects on global cognitive function, health status, and exercise capacity, regardless of cognition status, according to a study.

A total of 60 COPD patients (forced expiratory volume in the first second [FEV1], 47 percent) participated in the study. All patients completed the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA ≤25 points) and a 3-week inpatient PR program.

Efficacy outcomes included cognitive function (neuropsychological battery), health status (36-Item Short Form Survey [SF-36]), and exercise capacity (6-min walk test [6MWT] and cycle-endurance test [CET]). Responsiveness to PR was measured using mean change (delta value [Δ]) and the Cohen's d effect size (ES).

Of the patients, 25 (42 percent) presented with mild cognitive impairment at baseline. PR produced significant improvements in global cognitive function, health status (the majority of SF-36 components), and exercise capacity (6MWT and cycle endurance) in all patients, including those with cognitive impairment.

Compared with cognitively normal patients, those with cognitive impairment showed no significant improvement in SF-36 subdomains of “role emotional” and “bodily pain.” Likewise, the latter exhibited a lower magnitude of change in 6MWT (Δ: 25 m; ES: 0.21) relative to cognitively normal patients (Δ: 46 m; ES: 0.54).

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