Pulmonary rehabilitation program

Available at dedicated pulmonary rehab centers in Durham and Raleigh

Duke’s pulmonary rehabilitation programs help you regain control of breathing problems caused by moderate to severe lung disease. Our pulmonary teams in Raleigh and Durham work with you to improve your exercise tolerance as well as your endurance with exertion. If you are being considered for lung transplant surgery, pulmonary rehabilitation can help you meet the requirements for the lung transplant waiting list, strengthen you for the surgery, and help you recover from the procedure.

The pulmonary rehabilitation program offers group classes to improve strength and flexibility.

Who benefits from pulmonary rehabilitation?

If you experience shortness of breath and fatigue due to chronic lung disease, you are a potential candidate for pulmonary rehabilitation. This is true whether you are wheelchair bound, on oxygen, or are otherwise physically impaired. Our pulmonary rehab teams in Durham and Raleigh work closely with people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic asthma, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary hypertension, cystic fibrosis and other lung diseases. Pulmonary rehabilitation won’t cure your disease, nor can we help you get off oxygen. However, we can help you learn how to overcome the shortness of breath and fatigue you associate with exercise.

Nearly all participants feel better by the second week. Nearly all complete our programs, and experience improvement in activities of daily living, including being able to walk in the mall, and climb more stairs. As you get stronger and your breathing improves, depression and anxiety also decrease. And, studies show that learning to use your medical therapies properly, and following a personalized action plan – both of which are taught in pulmonary rehab -- reduces hospital admissions.

Daily walks are an important part of the pulmonary rehabilitation program.

Pulmonary rehabilitation for lung transplant surgery

All Duke candidates for lung transplant surgery are required to undergo pulmonary rehabilitation before and after lung transplant surgery. The program uses education, endurance exercise, strengthening and counseling to help you prepare, prior to being placed on the lung transplant wait list. Once listed, we help condition your mind and body for surgery. And, following lung transplant surgery, we help you recover, manage your medications, and set you on the road to following a lifelong exercise program.

What to look for in a pulmonary rehab center

As one of the oldest and largest pulmonary rehabilitation programs on the East Coast, Duke’s program in Durham is often looked upon as a model for others. Since the 1980s we have played an active role in establishing the standards, guidelines, and protocols for similar programs around the country. We’ve also been involved in the research surrounding how to best conduct, and what to expect from a pulmonary rehab program.

In looking for a pulmonary rehab center for your needs, consider the importance of:

  • Membership in the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).  Pulmonary rehab specialists in our Durham and Raleigh programs are long time members of AACVPR and several have served in leadership positions. Each site’s medical director is a dedicated pulmonary specialist.
  • A dedicated staff. Depending on which of our programs you use, your rehabilitation team may include pulmonary care specialists, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, nurses, communication and swallowing therapists, and counselors.
  • Having access to the latest rehabilitation techniques. You have access to the latest evidence-based treatments, as well as opportunities to participate in studies exploring new approaches to pulmonary rehabilitation.
  • A dedicated facility. Our pulmonary rehabilitation facilities include classrooms, exercise equipment, and inhaled oxygen to support your recovery.
  • Tailored programs. Our intensive programs include exercise, nutrition counseling, respiratory therapy and education on how to manage your condition. We also offer individual, family, and psychological counseling.
  • Your access to a supporting major medical center. As part of Duke Health, you have access to pulmonary experts who can help you manage every aspect of your lung disease.

Pulmonary rehab centers in Raleigh and Durham

Our pulmonary rehab programs in Raleigh and Durham are open to participants of all ages and all stages of lung disease.

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