Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients' experience with pulmonary rehabilitation: a systematic review of qualitative research.

Respiratory conditions
  • COPD
Respiratory topics
  • Disease management
de Sousa Pinto JM, Martín-Nogueras AM, Morano MT, Macêdo TE, Arenillas JI, Troosters T


The aim of this study was to give an in-depth consideration of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients' subjective view of the impact of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) on their lives. A systematic review in PubMed, Embase, CINAHL and PsychInfo databases yielded 3306 articles, of which 387 were duplicates, 263 remained after screening abstract and title; of them, 4 were excluded (editorial or due to lacking of full text) remaining a total of 259 for full text reading. Among these, eight studies met the inclusion criteria and were finally included. The meta-ethnography approach synthesized an understanding of the studies, which focused on constructing interpretations and developed a 'line-of-argument' synthesis. The psychosocial support of PR contributes to the patients' strength and desire for participation and the health education leads to illness-perception learning. Both psychosocial support and health education develop patients' empowerment, while PR promotes opportunities to health transitions. The empowerment experienced by the patients in taking advantage of these opportunities leads to positive impacts over time. If they do not exploit these occasions, negative impacts arise in their life, which make the treatment assistance or follow-up more difficult. The COPD patients' feedback revealed that PR promotes a better 'way of life', well-being and important behavioural changes towards health promotion.