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Hospital readmission reduced among physically active COPD patients

Written by | 28 May 2014 | All Medical News

by Bruce SylvesterChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients involved in moderate to vigorous physical activity are at a lower risk of hospital readmission within 30 days compared to physically inactive COPD patients,  researchers reported on April 9, 2014  in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

“The results of this study are groundbreaking because measures of physical activity were derived from routine clinical care, instead of lengthy physical activity surveys or activity devices in smaller research samples,” said lead author, Huong Nguyen, PhD, RN, of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation. “Previous research has only analyzed the relationship between physical inactivity and increased mortality rate and hospitalizations, but not 30-day readmissions in patients with COPD.”

Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of data from health records of 6,042 COPD patients in the Kaiser Permanente health system in southern California who were 40 years or older, and who were hospitalized with COPD between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2012.

They separated physical activity data into three groups — inactive, insufficiently active, and active.

They found that the subjects who exercised at least 150 minutes a week achieved a 34 percent lower risk of hospital readmission within 30 days compared to the inactive subjects.

Subjects who reported less than 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity a week still achieved a 33 percent lower risk of 30-day readmission compared to non-exercising subjects.

Participants were 68 percent white, 15 percent black, 12 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander.

“Many health care systems are currently focused on providing interventions at or soon after hospital discharge to reduce readmissions,” Nguyen said. “This study is novel in that we were able to capture information about patients’ usual physical activity well before the initial hospitalization and provides evidence that supports the promotion of physical activity across the COPD care continuum. Our findings suggest that regular physical activity could buffer the stresses of hospitalization. Future studies will focus on determining whether we can reduce hospitalizations by improving physical activity in patients with COPD.”

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