Using 6-Min Walk Distance Expressed as a Percentage of Reference to Evaluate the Effect of Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Elderly Patients With Interstitial Lung Disease

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The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program and the use of 6-min walk distance (6MWD), expressed as a percentage of the predicted value (%6MWD), to quantify response to PR in elderly patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD).


This was a prospective, nonrandomized controlled study. Forty eligible patients with stable ILD (≥65 y old) were advised to attend an outpatient PR program for 3 mo. Thirteen patients completed the PR program and formed the PR group. Ten patients who did not attend the PR program were evaluated after 3 mo and formed the control group. Patients in the PR group underwent a comprehensive 3-mo hospital-based outpatient PR program, consisting of educational support and supervised exercise training, and attended the rehabilitation unit weekly.


Change in the absolute 6MWD (Δ6MWD) in the PR group was not significantly different compared with the control group (P = .062). Change in %6MWD (Δ%6MWD) was greater in the PR group than in the control group. Baseline 6MWD was not correlated with Δ6MWD, but baseline %6MWD was significantly correlated with Δ6MWD and Δ%6MWD.


PR had a beneficial effect on elderly patients with ILD in terms of exercise endurance. %6MWD might be more useful than the absolute 6MWD as an outcome measure of PR and as a predictor of response to PR in elderly patients with ILD.

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