The usefulness of respiratory rehabilitation in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Authors: Călina Ciubotariu2, Mihai Emil Russu2, Victoria Ruta3, Victoria Emilia Tuns-Singureanu1, Emanuela Doroftei2, Ileana Monica Borda1,2, Laszlo Irsay1,2, Viorela Ciortea1,2,

Anne-Marie Constantin1, Rodica Ungur 1,2



1 “Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

2 Clinical Rehabilitation Hospital Cluj-Napoca, Romania

3 “Leon Daniello” Clinical Hospital of Pulmonology, Cluj-Napoca



Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a disease that affects the interstitial space of the lungs and its cause is unknown. This pathology is considered to be the most common in the group of idiopathic interstitial pneumonias. Nowadays we can see an increase both in its prevalence and its incidence among Western countries, which should be a reason for concern as there is no known curative medical treatment.

Generally, patients presenting with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis have a dry cough, breathlessness, weight loss, fatigue and can later develop clubbing of the fingers. Before a definitive diagnosis can be made, we must take into account the risk factors of the more common pulmonary fibrosis such as: cigarette smoking, occupational exposure to harmful substances, radiotherapy and chemoterapy and asthma, and we should rule out other similar interstitial pathologies.

The treament used consists of mostly supportive and symptomatic therapies, the only known curative treament being lung transplantation. Therefore, pulmonary rehabilitation can become an alternative solution given the fact that it has proved effective in other lung diseases and has been included in COPD therapeutic guidelines for some time now.

So far, resistance improving, stretching and breathing exercises are considered, as well as other cardiorespiratory(aerobic) exercises such as walking and cycling which have been used for a long time in the manangement of dyspnea and they have a positive impact on the functional capacity, mental health and overall quality of life that cannot be contested.

Therefore, these types of therapies should be applied and further studied in order to see their efficiency in patients suffering from idiopathic interstitial fibrosis, as well as in those with other types of idiopathic interstitial pneumonias. Recently, it has been discovered that a large number of patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus later develop this type of disease, making its treatment even more relevant on a global scale.


Key words: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, respiratory rehabilitation, SARS-COV-2 rehabilitation, improved quality of life.


The usefulness of respiratory rehabilitation in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis