By Frank Long

May 10, 2007

Patients who suffer dyspnea may find relief in exercise training at both low and high intensity. New evidence-based guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) recommend the exercises as part of a comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program connected with the organizations’ new, evidence-based guidelines.

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who suffer from partially blocked airways that make breathing diffficult may particularly benefit from the exercises.

“The primary goal of pulmonary rehabilitation is to restore the patient to the highest possible level of independent function,” Andrew Ries, MD, MPH, FCCP, chair of the pulmonary rehabilitation guidelines committee, said. “We want patients to become more physically active and to learn more about their disease, treatment options and how to cope.”

Among stable patients disabled by respiratory symptoms related to COPD, exercise training, education, and instruction in various respiratory techniques help improve quality of life.

“With the increasing incidence of COPD, pulmonary rehabilitation is more important than ever before,” Mark J. Rosen, MD, FCCP, president of the American College of Chest Physicians, said.

“Although no intervention has been shown to cure COPD, pulmonary rehabilitation can help patients manage their condition and improve their ability to lead active and productive lives,” Rosen added.

The guidelines stress that strength and endurance training, lower and upper extremity exercise training as well as education about self-management of the disease are integral aspects of a comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program.

Read the complete listing of the ACCP/AACPR pulmonary rehabilitation guidelines at