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QUESTION: In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is respiratory rehabilitation more effective than conventional community care for improving health related quality of life (HRQL) and functional and maximal exercise capacity?
Studies were identified by searching Medline (1966–2000), CINAHL (1982–2000), Cochrane Airways Group’s registry of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in COPD (up to 2000), and lists of conference abstracts. Bibliographies of relevant articles were reviewed, and experts in the field were contacted for unpublished studies.
Studies published in any language were selected if they were RCTs comparing respiratory rehabilitation (any inpatient, outpatient, or home based rehabilitation programme that lasted ≥4 wks and included exercise therapy with or without any form of education or psychological support) with conventional community care, and >90% of patients had …