Virtual pulmonary rehabilitation: virtual reality or virtual insanity?

Title: Virtual pulmonary rehabilitation: virtual reality or virtual insanity?
Author(s): K Devenney and C Gleeson
Institution: St. James's Hospital
Poster: Click to view poster
Category: COPD/Asthma
Abstract: Emergent literature suggests Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation (VPR) may be as effective as traditional models of Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) for improving key patient outcomes.

We examined accessibility, completion rates, safety and effectiveness (minimally important difference (MID) in exercise capacity or health status) of an 8 week (x2/weekly) supervised VPR programme on Zoom for patients with chronic respiratory disease (CRD). Pre and post outcomes included a 1-minute sit-to-stand test and/or 6-minute walk test (6MWT) as a measure of exercise capacity. Health status was measured using a disease specific questionnaire.

An initial scoping review of the PR waiting list (n=54) found that 33.3% (n=18) were interested in VPR and had IT access. Sixty eight participants (female 43.2%, mean age 68.4±11.2 years, mean MRCD 2.8±1) enrolled over 1-year. The dropout rate was 45.5% (n=31). Post assessment outcomes (n=34) demonstrated MID in exercise capacity or health status was achieved in 91.1% of participants (70.5%, n=24 in exercise capacity; 50%, n=17 in health status; 29.4%, n=10 both). No adverse events were recorded.

This service evaluation found barriers to engagement with telehealth in people with CRD. While safety and feasibility were demonstrated, clinical effectiveness has not been fully established.