BACKGROUND: Pulmonary rehabilitation programme for lung surgery patients can reduce the risk of post-operative complications but compliance to programmes can be limited by access to health care. We developed a home-based rehabilitation app and tested its feasibility in patients undergoing lung resection surgery.
METHODS: A cohort study was conducted over 18 months at a regional thoracic unit. The Fit 4 Surgery app included ten exercises. Patients were instructed to exercise for at least three minutes for each exercise. Data was transmitted back to the researchers remotely. Data was also collected from a contemporaneous group of surgery patients who attended local outpatient-based Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease rehabilitation classes. Quality of Life and outcomes data in the app group were collected. Patients were also interviewed about their experience of the app.
RESULTS: App patients had a shorter wait before surgery compared to patients attending rehabilitation classes (24 vs 45 days) but managed four times as many sessions (2 vs 9), improving incremental shuttle walk test distance by 99 ± 83 (p < 0.05) metres before surgery. Five themes were gathered from the interviews.
CONCLUSION: An app based programme of rehabilitation can be delivered in a timely fashion to lung surgery patients with demonstrable physiological benefits; this will need to be confirmed in further clinical trials.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN00061628. Registered 27 May 2011.
- Lung Cancer
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Quality of life
- Thoracic surgery