Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)


National Lung Health Education Program
A collaborative project with



HealthOne Center
1850 High Street
Denver, CO 80218
Phone: 303 839 6755
Fax: 303 832 8137
e-mail: nlhep@aol.com

Pulmonary Rehabilitation
(Obtain, Maintain, Sustain)

March 1994
PEP Pioneers
Second Wind
Torrance, California

Dear Friends,

Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has truly come of age. Many centers in the United States have developed practical and efficient pulmonary rehabilitation programs. These centers are often asked how the program works, how it is organized, methods of funding, and what the outcomes are.

For the patient, the strategies in pulmonary rehabilitation can be summarized as follows:

A) Obtain complete information about the problem of COPD or a similar disease state for which pulmonary rehabilitation can be helpful, i.e., asthma, cystic fibrosis, interstitial lung diseases, etc. Obtain as much information about causes of disease, how to prevent disease progression, and all of the therapies that need to be brought to bear in order to stem the progress of disease and to cope with the disease, with the aim of improving quality of life. Improving exercise capacity is part of the early phase of PR. This phase summarizes the beginnings of the pulmonary rehabilitation program for each individual. The outcomes vary with the individual.

B) Maintain Once the full knowledge of disease is achieved and new exercise capabilities are achieved, maintaining a functional optimum is the next strategy. How to work this into a productive and fruitful daily routine, again, will vary with the individual. Pulmonary rehabilitation should become a way of life and should enhance the lives of all who participate. Patients should be able to participate in their medication choices, as guided by their physician.

C) Sustain Sustaining interest in a new commitment to health, fitness, and the pursuit of a vigorous lifestyle should be considered the third and solidifying phase of a PR program. This involves a life-long commitment to the principles of health that have been taught and used from the first moments a person has begun in pulmonary rehabilitation.

Mark Twain once said, "The best way to live a long, happy life is to acquire a chronic disease and take good care of it." This could be considered the battle cry of all of us who are committed to good health and the prevention of disease for all of the joys and benefits that are offered.

I'll be in touch next month.

     Sincerely yours,

     Thomas Petty, MD

Last update:
14 Octl 2002