Background Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have increased cardiovascular risk. In selected COPD patients, recent studies have shown that pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) may improve markers of cardiovascular risk, such as arterial stiffness, blood pressure and fasting cholesterol. Waist circumference and waist-hip ratio are related to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and mortality. We investigated the effect of PR on waist circumference and waist-hip ratio in an unselected population referred for PR.
Methods 256 consecutive patients (181 COPD; 117F:139M; median age 69; median FEV1 49% predicted) completing an eight week outpatient PR programme were analysed. Waist circumference, waist-hip ratio and body mass index (BMI) were measured immediately before and after PR. Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to test the effect of PR.
Results Following PR, there were significant improvements in incremental shuttle walk (ISW) and chronic respiratory disease questionnaire (CRDQ) score (Abstract P145 table 1). There were very small, but statistically significant, reductions in weight, BMI and waist circumference but no changes in waist-hip ratio.
Conclusions An 8-week outpatient PR programme has no clinically meaningful effect upon waist circumference or waist-hip ratio.