Question: What is the role, if any, for pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with IPF?

Answer: We are learning more and more about the benefits of exercise in patients with many forms of lung and heart disease. Most of the data on the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) have come from the COPD literature where it is well established. Indeed, it is mandated in this population prior to lung volume reduction surgery and transplantation. PR is generally required for lung transplant candidates. There is also emerging data in patients with interstitial lung disease and IPF about the benefits of PR. Interestingly, a recent study of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension showed that PR improved patients' six minute walk distance more than most commonly prescribed medications. A comprehensive approach, including ongoing education, dietary consultation, and adaptive breathing strategies enables a global improvement in quality of life, in addition to gains in functional status. With a lack of effective medical therapies for IPF, PR is one strategy that physicians can prescribe that could be of significant benefit.