Over 16 million people in the US have COPD and up to 60% of COPD cases go undiagnosed. According to the World Health Organization, COPD is the third leading cause of death globally. COPD continues to be a leading cause of disabling symptoms and suffering. Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) is the standard of care for persons with COPD and is associated with improved physical function, symptoms, mood and quality of life. Although PR is well established as a highly effective treatment for COPD and other chronic respiratory diseases in the United States only 3–4% of Medicare beneficiaries with COPD receive pulmonary rehabilitation! Similarly low estimates exist for the rest of the world.
A recent study by Peter Lindenauer and colleagues found that, in persons hospitalized due to acute exacerbation of COPD, PR within three months of discharge vs. later or no PR, was associated with a highly significant lower risk of mortality at one year (hazard ratio, 0.63; i.e., a 37% lower risk of death over the year following discharge). The study utilized claims data of 197,376 Medicare beneficiaries discharged after hospitalization for COPD.8 The findings support PR as a high priority following hospitalization for COPD.
Patients suffering from COPD should know that PR not only has potential for helping them feel better and being more independent, but also to live longer. We are asking for your support in communicating these important findings of improved survival after PR to providers and patients.
Click on the link below to view or download an infographic that you can use to help spread the word.