The rate of frailty in patients with COPD referred for pulmonary rehabilitation is over twice that of the general population of older people, and these patients have a high risk for discontinuing the exercise therapy.

When researchers assessed the prevalence of frailty among 816 outpatients with COPD using the Fried criteria, they found that one in four (25%) were frail (95% CI 22.7-28.7), even though the mean age of the patients was just 70.

Compared with patients who were not frail, more than twice as many who were did not complete pulmonary rehabilitation programs, but those who did had improvements in key outcomes related to quality of life and disease burden, Matthew Maddocks, PhD, of Kings College London, and colleagues wrote online in Thorax.