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Does pulmonary rehabilitation address treatable traits? A systematic review

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posted on 2022-09-21, 06:32 authored by Anne HollandAnne Holland, B Wageck, Mariana Hoffman BarbosaMariana Hoffman Barbosa, AL Lee, AW Jones

Background: There is growing interest in a “treatable traits” approach to pulmonary rehabilitation in chronic airways disease. The frequency with which pulmonary rehabilitation programmes address treatable traits is unknown. 

Methods: Randomised controlled trials of pulmonary rehabilitation compared to usual care in patients with stable chronic airways disease were included. The components of pulmonary rehabilitation delivered were extracted and mapped to treatable traits in pulmonary, extrapulmonary and behavioural/lifestyle domains. Meta-analysis was used to evaluate the impact of addressing >1 treatable trait on exercise capacity and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). 

Results: 116 trials were included (6893 participants). Almost all pulmonary rehabilitation programmes addressed deconditioning (97% of trials). The most commonly addressed extrapulmonary traits were nutritional status (obesity and cachexia, 18% each) and mood disturbance (anxiety and depression, 10% each). Behavioural/lifestyle traits most frequently addressed were nonadherence (46%), poor inhalation technique (24%) and poor family/social support (19%). Exercise capacity and HRQoL outcomes did not differ between studies that addressed deconditioning alone and those that targeted additional traits, but heterogeneity was high. 

Conclusion: Aside from deconditioning, treatable traits are infrequently addressed in existing trials of pulmonary rehabilitation. The potential of the treatable traits approach to improve pulmonary rehabilitation outcomes remains to be explored.


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European Respiratory Review



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European Respiratory Society



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© The authors 2022 This version is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Licence 4.0.

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