Can exercise rehabilitation improve outcome following pulmonary embolism?

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Almost half of patients who suffer a pulmonary embolism (PE) experience long-term limitations to physical capacity.

Almost half of patients who suffer a pulmonary embolism (PE) experience long-term limitations to physical capacity, which can have negative impactS on quality of life.

That is according to a new study published in Chest , which is the first to demonstrate that PE may have a lasting effect on patients.

For the study, 100 patients were followed for a year after treatment for PE. While all of the participants were generally healthy when they experienced their PE, almost half performed below 80 per cent of predicted peak oxygen uptake one year later. Men were three-times more likely to have adverse effects, and younger patients fared worse, as did more overweight patients and smokers. The underlying cause of the PE did not seem to be a predictor of long-term repercussions.

The authors said, while further study is required, the outcomes suggest patients with PE may benefit from some form of exercise rehabilitation as part of their recovery. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) or six-minute walk distance testing at one month may help to identify patients with a higher risk of exercise limitation after PE.

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