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Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Yard work, family activities, and even climbing the stairs can be a struggle for individuals suffering from chronic pulmonary disease -- the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States.

Individuals suffering from this disease do not have to stop enjoying and performing their activities of daily living. The Duke Raleigh Hospital Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program offers a multidisciplinary approach to individually help patients regain control of their lives.

The pulmonary rehabilitation program offers a service of excellence in pulmonary care to patients suffering from diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and other lung diseases.

From increasing a patient's strength to building confidence, the program is designed to assist patients with:

  • Self-management of lung disease
  • Building strength and endurance
  • Nutritional needs
  • Regaining control in activities of daily living including climbing the stairs and grocery shopping

The program's professional, credentialed team members develop a customized plan for each patient that enhances the patient's quality of life. The pulmonary rehabilitation team is led by the program medical director, Christopher Pugh, MD.

Patients are enrolled in a nine-week program consisting of 36 exercise sessions. For your convenience, we offer three pulmonary rehab sessions three times a week. Sessions take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays as follows:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays: 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

An Individualized Approach to Care

Every patient is unique. That's why the pulmonary rehabilitation team works to provide individualized resources to best suit each patient for optimal care.

Medical evaluation

Initial and ongoing evaluations with the pulmonary rehabilitation team are used to assess your overall health and endurance, medical limitations, and track your ongoing progress during the program.

Based on your initial evaluation, the pulmonary rehabilitation program will be tailored to your needs and physical abilities.

Exercise sessions

Exercise is a key component of the pulmonary rehabilitation program. It is common for people with lung disease to limit activity because of shortness of breath, but when you are inactive the strength of your muscles and heart decline.

The pulmonary rehabilitation exercise sessions are designed to help you exercise based on your abilities while teaching you the techniques you need to regain control of your breathing and learn to pace yourself.

An individualized exercise prescription is developed for each patient that may include pulmonary function testing or cardiopulmonary exercise testing.

The pulmonary rehabilitation team will monitor your progress and exercise response while using a variety of exercises and equipment. This may include walking, stationary cycling, or using the arm ergometer. You will also participate in strength training exercises to increase your fitness and endurance.

In addition, home exercise guidelines and instruction will be provided.


Education is an important part of pulmonary rehabilitation. Education may inclulde one-to-one teaching or group classes. Participants will learn about a variety of topics to help improve day-to-day management of living with chronic lung disease. Topics include the following:

  • Lung anatomy and lung disease
  • Breathing training
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Medications
  • Activities of daily living
  • Signs and symptoms of infection
  • Stress management
  • Nutrition

Support for the whole person

Sometimes people with lung disease struggle with physical and emotional challenges that come as a result of dealing with a chronicc illness. Many participants may experience depression, anxiety, or feelings of guilt. The pulmonary rehab program offers classes on stress management and relaxation skills.

With the use of these newly acquired relaxation skills, increased physical strength, and the ongoing support of the pulmonary rehab team, participants gain the confidence and courage they need to manage their disease and improve their quality of life.

Participating in the Program

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program is open to outpatients by physician referral only. For more information, please contact Ginny Shabow at 919-954-3142.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Duke Raleigh Hospital is located at 3301 Executive Drive, on the campus of Duke Raleigh Hospital.