According to a recent study presented during the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference, Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) treatment could be beneficial when added to comprehensive therapy in patients suffering with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome.
“In our study with 40 newly diagnosed OSA patients and a control group, pulmonary rehabilitation helped reduce body mass index, certain body circumferences, and improve pulmonary function,” said researcher Katerina Neumannova, MSc, PhD, at Palacky University in the Czech Republic.
Patients with OSA usually receive treatment with continuous positive airway pressure, also termed CPAP therapy or CPAP. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often receive treatment via PR, however this approach had not been investigated in patients with OSA, a condition that causes respiratory impairments related with diminished functional capacity and a decreased health-related quality of life.
The researchers examined the effect of PR in a group of 40 patients with OSA who were randomised 1:1 (N=20 patients in the treatment group versus N=20 in the control group) to receive CPAP therapy. Patients had apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) higher than 15.
Patients received the PR therapy for a total of 6 weeks with 60 minute sessions twice per week. In each session, patients had exercise training, education, respiratory muscle training, oropharyngeal exercises and breathing retraining
The researchers tracked AHI; body mass index (BMI); percentage of body fat; pulmonary function; and hip, neck and waist circumferences at baseline and at 6 weeks of CPAP-only use or CPAP with the PR.
Results from the final patient sample, which included 15 patients in the PR group and of 20 patients in the control group, revealed that the severity of OSA decreased after the treatments in both the study group, while the results showing a reduction in the neck, waist and hip circumferences of BMI, but in the PR group. This group of patients also had pulmonary function improvement. The results showed that patients in both the study groups had a decrease in their body fat.
“Patients with OSA can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation treatment,” Dr. Neumannova said in the news release. “We can determine on a patient-by-patient basis which patients would benefit most from pulmonary rehabilitation based on their individual disease and clinical judgement.”