Objective: Breathlessness is the most common devastating symptom of advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The Breathlessness Intervention Service (BIS) is a multidisciplinary service that uses both pharmacological and non-pharmacological evidence-based interventions to reduce the impact of the symptom. The results of a Phase II evaluation of the service are reported.
Method: Pretest - posttest analysis of non-randomized data was performed for 13 patients with severe advanced COPD referred to BIS.
Results: Mean VAS-Distress scores (primary outcome measure) decreased (improved) for the group between baseline and follow up suggesting a clinically significant improvement: 6.88 (SD = 2.50) to 5.25 (SD = 2.99). At an individual level, 11 of the 13 patients showed a decrease in their distress due to breathlessness, and for eight of these this was clinically significant (range of all decreases 0.3-7.1 cm). Changes in secondary outcome measures are also reported.
Significance of results: The Breathlessness Intervention Service appears to reduce distress due to breathlessness among patients with advanced COPD. A Phase III fully-powered randomized controlled trial is warranted.