What is pulmonary hypertension?
Pulmonary hypertension is a long-term condition where blood vessels supplying the lungs can become thick and stiff. This can restrict blood flow. Blood pressure is increased in these vessels meaning the heart must work harder to pump blood to the lungs. Breathlessness, fatigue and dizziness are the most common symptoms. People with pulmonary hypertension are often worried about carrying out normal daily activities and this can impact on people’s quality of life.
How is the condition treated?
There are five types of pulmonary hypertension, each with different causes and medical treatments. This can include drugs to thin the blood, that may help improve symptoms. A common treatment for other heart and lung conditions is exercise rehabilitation – it has shown to improve fitness, breathlessness, anxiety, depression and quality of life. But it is not known if exercise rehabilitation can help people living with pulmonary hypertension.
What are we trying to find out?
We want to find out if exercise rehabilitation can be done at home with online (remote) supervision from trained exercise specialists. We have developed a new exercise programme, with motivational support, to encourage people to exercise for eight weeks. We now want to find out if this programme is better than usual NHS care for people with pulmonary hypertension.
What treatments are we testing?
People in group 1 will be invited to take part in remote, supervised, online group exercise sessions, once a week. A home exercise bike will also be loaned out for people to use twice a week, at their own pace. Weekly motivational support sessions will help to encourage people to stick to their exercise plan. This programme will last for eight weeks.
People in group 2, the usual care group, will receive one online appointment with an exercise specialist, to talk about their lifestyle and keeping active. People in group 2 will not take part in the exercise programme.
How will we know if the treatment helps?
From talking to people with pulmonary hypertension, we know that the most important benefit of any treatment is helping to reduce breathlessness and fatigue. People have told us that this would help them with confidence to do daily activities, to 'do more', to walk further and have a better quality of life. We want to improve the fitness and quality of life of those living with pulmonary hypertension.