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What Is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

Pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) rehabilitation, also called pulmonary rehab or PR, is a broad program that helps improve the well-being of people who have chronic (ongoing) breathing problems.

For example, PR may benefit people who have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), sarcoidosis (sar-koy-DOE-sis), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or cystic fibrosis.

PR also can benefit people who need lung surgery, both before and after the surgery.

PR doesn't replace medical therapy. Instead, it's used with medical therapy and may include:

  • Exercise training
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Education on your lung disease or condition and how to manage it
  • Energy-conserving techniques
  • Breathing strategies
  • Psychological counseling and/or group support

PR involves a long-term commitment from the patient and a team of health care providers. The PR team may include doctors, nurses, and specialists. Examples of specialists include respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians or nutritionists, and psychologists or social workers.

PR often is an outpatient program based in a hospital or clinic. Some patients also can receive PR in their homes.

When you start PR, your rehab team will create a plan that's tailored to your abilities and needs. You'll likely attend your PR program weekly. Your team also will expect you to follow your plan, including exercises and lifestyle changes, at home.

PR has many benefits. It can improve your ability to function and your quality of life. The program also may help relieve your breathing problems. Even if you have advanced lung disease, you can still benefit from PR.

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Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Pulmonary Rehabilitation, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.

 
August 01, 2010 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.