NIHR HTA award to Sheffield for research into lung disease exercise rehabilitation programme 26th September 2014

A research team led by Dr Rodney Hughes of the Academic Directorate of Respiratory Medicine at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield Clinical Trials Research Unit and Aintree Hospital in Liverpool, has been awarded a prestigious NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme grant to investigate new methods of treatment to help patients recover from flare ups of the lung condition known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

COPD is a lung condition that affects a person's ability to exercise and undertake normal physical activity. Patients often experience flare ups known as "exacerbations", which result in worsening of their symptoms, and may require hospital treatment. Recovery from such exacerbations is often slow, and some patients never fully return to their previous level of activity.

When someone leaves hospital after a COPD flare up, they are currently offered an exercise programme to help their recovery, known as pulmonary rehabilitation. The research team will undertake a two year “feasibility study” to assess whether it is beneficial to begin pulmonary rehabilitation much earlier than it is currently used, using different types of exercise supervised by a physiotherapist.

The study will assess whether a larger more conclusive trial will be worthwhile, to determine if this early rehabilitation method will help patients recover more quickly, and reduce further COPD flare ups and admissions to hospital.