Patients with hyperventilation syndrome (HVS) report severe symptom-related suffering and often complain from insufficient medical attention. However, quality of life data in this context are scarce. We aimed at assessing the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of HVS patients. Twenty-one HVS patients with extensive cardiorespiratory workup including cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) filled in the generic SF-36 questionnaire and the results were compared to French normal values. Correlations between SF36 dimensions and clinical and functional data were established. All SF-36 scores were markedly decreased in HVS patients compared to healthy subjects: Physical Functioning: 44 ± 24, Social Functioning: 57 ± 27, Role Physical: 21 ± 32, Role Emotional: 48 ± 42, Mental Health: 51 ± 27, Vitality: 34 ± 20, Body Pain: 41 ± 21, General Health: 42 ± 21. These figures were all significantly lower in the HVS patients respective to the normal reference population. They were also lower than corresponding values published in patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). "Vitality" and "Physical Functioning" scores were correlated with Nijmegen score (r = -0.594, p = 0.047) and peak respiratory frequency during CPET (r = -0.644, p = 0.019). The SF-36 Social Functioning score was correlated with the ventilatory threshold (r = 0.629, p = 0.034), peak V'E/V'CO2 (ventilation/CO2 production) (r = 0.650, p = 0.016) and peak PaCO2 (r = -0.664, p = 0.027). In conclusion, this study shows that HRQoL can be severely impaired in patients with HVS, which is one more reason to take this condition seriously.
Keywords: Breathlessness; Health-related quality of life; Hyperventilation syndrome; Idiopathic hyperventilation.
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