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Efficacy of supervised maintenance exercise following pulmonary rehabilitation on health care use: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors Jenkins AR, Gowler H, Curtis F, Holden NS, Bridle C, Jones AW

Received 1 September 2017

Accepted for publication 12 November 2017

Published 10 January 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 257—273


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Video abstract presented by Alex R Jenkins.

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Alex R Jenkins,1 Holly Gowler,1 Ffion Curtis,1 Neil S Holden,2 Christopher Bridle,1 Arwel W Jones1

1Lincoln Institute for Health, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK; 2School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK

Introduction: The clinical benefit of continued supervised maintenance exercise programs following pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD remains unclear. This systematic review aimed to synthesize the available evidence on the efficacy of supervised maintenance exercise programs compared to usual care following pulmonary rehabilitation completion on health care use and mortality.
Methods: Electronic databases (MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, and PEDro) and trial registers ( and Current Controlled Trials) were searched for randomized trials comparing supervised maintenance exercise programs with usual care following pulmonary rehabilitation completion. Primary outcomes were respiratory-cause hospital admissions, exacerbations requiring treatment with antibiotics and/or systemic corticosteroids, and mortality.
Results: Eight trials (790 COPD patients) met the inclusion criteria, six providing data for meta-analysis. Continued supervised maintenance exercise compared to usual care following pulmonary rehabilitation completion significantly reduced the risk of experiencing at least one respiratory-cause hospital admission (risk ratio 0.62, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.47–0.81, P<0.001). Meta-analyses also suggested that supervised maintenance exercise leads to a clinically important reduction in the rate of respiratory-cause hospital admissions (rate ratio 0.72, 95% CI 0.50–1.05, P=0.09), overall risk of an exacerbation (risk ratio 0.79, 95% CI 0.52–1.19, P=0.25), and mortality (risk ratio 0.57, 95% CI 0.17–1.92, P=0.37).
Conclusion: In the first systematic review of the area, current evidence demonstrates that continued supervised maintenance exercise compared to usual care following pulmonary rehabilitation reduces health care use in COPD. The variance in the quality of the evidence included in this review highlights the need for this evidence to be followed up with further high-quality randomized trials.

Keywords: pulmonary rehabilitation, health outcomes, supervised maintenance programs, hospitalization, exacerbations

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