In a study published on Hindawi, a group of patients with severe cystic fibrosis that were awaiting a lung transplant underwent a telerehabilitation program to maintain their lung function. The results of this study indicated that the program, which used a fitness tracking app, showed promise. These findings could help chart a course for telerehabilitation, which is useful for patients with mobility or access challenges and is particularly relevant during COVID-19.
About Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a type of genetic disorder which can have impacts throughout the body, but it is most characterized by the build up of abnormally thick, sticky mucus in the lungs. This mucus becomes a fertile breeding ground and habitat for potentially infectious bacteria. Many patients must take antibiotics for much of their lives. This disorder is caused by mutations of the CFTR gene. Symptoms of cystic fibrosis include progressive decline in lung function, lung and sinus infections, coughing up mucus, fatty stool, poor growth, infertility in males, clubbed digits, and digestive problems. Treatment includes antibiotics and medications or procedures intended to maintain lung function. More useful treatments for the disorder have been introduced in recent years. Lung transplant is an option when lung function declines severely. Life expectancy ranges into the 40s and 50s with good care. To learn more about cystic fibrosis, click here.
About The Study
The study involved 12 patients who participated in the home pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program, who were compared alongside 8 patients who were part of a hospital-based outpatient PR program. All of these patients had severe disease and were seeking a lung transplant. There 24 different sessions in total, which took place over a 12 week period. The main outcome was program adherence, with secondary outcomes including changes to six-minute walk distance (6 MWD), dyspnea, and adverse events.
The participants used an app called Peloton to complete the program exercises. In the pilot study, 50 percent of patients in the home telerehabilitation program completed all 24 sessions, compared to 0 percent of the hospital group. As a result, the home group saw a mean reduction in 6 MWD of just 7 meters compared to 86 meters in the hospital group. These findings demonstrated that patients using self-selected exercises and the Peloton app, could find meaningful benefit from a telerehabilitation-style program to improve their lung function.