Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 170, Issue 4, pp 231–232

Effect of once weekly pulmonary rehabilitation on exercise tolerance in patients with chronic lung disease

  • B. M. O’Neill
  • D. Johnston
  • N. Burrell
  • J. MacMahon
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/BF03167784

Cite this article as:
O’Neill, B.M., Johnston, D., Burrell, N. et al. Ir J Med Sci (2001) 170: 231. doi:10.1007/BF03167784



Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programmes improve exercise tolerance and reduce breathlessness in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


A retrospective audit was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the pulmonary rehabilitation programme at Belfast City Hospital (BCH).


Data from 74 patients who completed a six-week PR programme were reviewed. Exercise tolerance was assessed by the shuttle walk test (SWT), and breathlessness by the BORG scale. Paired t-tests were used for within group analysis.


The mean (SD) exercise tolerance assessed by the SWT improved significantly as did duration of individual exercises. Patients were able to exercise more without increasing their breathlessness or heart rate.


This paper highlights the effect of PR on exercise tolerance and breathlessness in patients with chronic lung disease. The results compare favourably with published literature where more frequently supervised exercise sessions were provided.

Copyright information

© Springer 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. M. O’Neill
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Johnston
    • 2
  • N. Burrell
    • 2
  • J. MacMahon
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of Ulster, Belfast City HospitalBelfastNorthern Ireland
  2. 2.Physiotherapy DepartmentBelfast City HospitalBelfastNorthern Ireland
  3. 3.Department of Respiratory MedicineBelfast City HospitalBelfastNorthern Ireland
  4. 4.School of Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of UlsterNewtownabbeyNorthern Ireland

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