About specialist physios in PH

Despite improvements in medical treatments for PH – resulting in improved prognosis – the condition still carries a high burden of symptoms. People with PH suffer with breathlessness, reduced exercise capacity and fatigue, which all impact on quality of life.

Historically, exercise in people with PH was discouraged due to a fear of pulmonary vascular complications. However, in the last two decades there is growing evidence to support exercise and its safety in this disease area.

The role of a specialist physiotherapist in a PH centre is wide-ranging. They can help with:

  • Managing breathlessness
  • Increasing strength and mobility
  • Connecting patients to rehab programmes or exercise groups local to them, liaising with providers to ensure knowledge and safety
  • Weight loss
  • Lifestyle choices such as diet and smoking
  • Education and information
  • Personalised exercise / mobility programmes

Because PH is rare, there are many healthcare professionals – including physiotherapists – who are unfamiliar with the disease. Having access to a specialist who understands the condition, and is an expert in rehabilitation, gives patients and their kinship confidence.

The PHA UK has provided funding to establish two specialist physio posts, at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield and the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. As it stands, funding from elsewhere is not available – meaning these posts are at risk.