WHAM study gets the go-go from NIHR

A research study has been awarded funding to determine whether singing classes can help people maintain the health benefits seen after undertaking pulmonary rehabilitation.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is an education and exercise programme recommended for people with lung conditions to help improve the management of symptoms, such as breathlessness, the ability to exercise and improve quality of life. Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust has its own pulmonary rehabilitation service which is run by physiotherapists at both hospital sites. 

Unfortunately, many of the improvements seen in people who undertake the programme are typically lost after about a year after completing a programme, mainly due to the absence of continued supervised training which is not widely available. 

The aim of this research project will be to encourage people who complete the pulmonary rehabilitation programme, to participate in Singing for Lung Health (SLH) classes led by a specially trained singing teacher. 

The Singing for Lung Health classes will help participants learn techniques to help control their breathing, using singing exercises and tools to improve breathing control and in the process, gain the skills to help them to cope with their lung condition.

Dr Adam Lewis, physiotherapy lecturer at Brunel University London and an honorary researcher at the Trust, is leading the project and hopes to prove that the project is feasible - paving the way for a clinical trial in the future to demonstrate any clinical benefits. 

Dr Lewis said:

“It’s fantastic to win this award which has been fully developed and endorsed by patients within the hospital. This award will enable patients with different respiratory condition across London to access a potentially valuable therapy when current choices are limited. 

“Should patients be willing to participate in singing groups following pulmonary rehabilitation or be randomised to receive standard home exercises only it will be feasible to scale up our work into a further definitive trial.” 

The WHAM study (Maintaining the benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation With Harmonies And Melodies via Singing for Lung Health) as it’s called, has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) through the Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme.

To find out more about this research, or any of our other projects, please contact us.