Objective There is a need for simple tools to evaluate physical performance in patients with COPD before and after pulmonary rehabilitation. The aims of this study were to evaluate changes in short physical performance battery (SPPB)-scores in patients with COPD after a 4-week pulmonary rehabilitation program; explore possible relationships between SPPB-scores and exercise capacity (6-min walk distance), dyspnea (modified Medical Research Council’s dyspnea scale), disease-specific quality of life (COPD assessment test), and pulmonary function (predicted forced expiratory volume in one second) at baseline; and explore if changes in SPPB-scores are related to changes in exercise capacity, dyspnea, and disease-specific quality of life following pulmonary rehabilitation. Results Forty-five patients with COPD were included in the final analysis. SPPB-scores improved following pulmonary rehabilitation (mean change: 1.2 ± 1.7 points, p < 0.001). There were moderate correlations between SPPB-scores and exercise capacity (r = 0.50, p < 0.001) and dyspnea (r = − 0.45, p = 0.003) at baseline, but not with pulmonary function or disease-specific quality of life. Changes in SPPB-scores were not associated with changes in exercise capacity or dyspnea scores. The SPPB may be a useful tool for evaluating physical performance in COPD Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02314338, December 11, 2014.
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