Depression in Patients with COPD Participating in a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program

Monday, 30 July 2012

Su-Er Guo, PhD
School of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Pu-tz, Chiayi, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to get knowledge about the effect of a pulmonary rehabilitation on depression.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand the characteristics of COPD patients who participate a pulmonary rehabilitation.


Depressive symptoms are common among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but the long-term effect of pulmonary rehabilitation on depression has not been fully investigated. The purpose of this study was to assess the 12-month effect of a pulmonary rehabilitation program on depression in patients with stable, moderate to severe COPD.


Using a correlational, longitudinal design, 39 pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) participants with COPD (mean age, 65.9+/-9.2 years; FEV1, 39 +/- 12%) were followed for 1 year after completion of a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Measures were Beck Depression Inventory, six-minute walk test, and Modified Borg Scale. Data on other variables were abstracted from PR program health records.


Over one quarter (29.7%) participants experienced reported depressive symptoms in the beginning of PR program. The increase in the intensity of dyspnea was associated with symptoms of depression after adjustment for demographic factors and other variables. The comparison between the pre-PR program and post-PR program values revealed a significant decrease in the levels of depression (pre-PR: 6.8 +/- 5.8; post-PR: 2.8 +/- 2.3; p = 0.04). 


Depression afflicts a significant proportion of COPD patients. The benefits provided by the PR program on depression persisted throughout the 12-month study period.