Symptom burden in stable COPD patients with moderate or severe airflow limitation

Heart Lung. 2014 Jul-Aug;43(4):351-7. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2014.04.004. Epub 2014 May 22.


Objectives: To describe a multidimensional symptom profile in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and determine whether symptom experience differed between patients with moderate or severe airflow limitations.

Background: Patients with severe airflow limitation experience numerous symptoms, but little is known regarding patients with moderate airflow limitation.

Methods: A multidimensional symptom profile (Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale) was assessed in 42 outpatients with moderate and 49 with severe airflow limitations.

Results: The mean number of symptoms in the total sample was 7.9 (±4.3) with no difference between patients with moderate and severe airflow limitations. The most prevalent symptoms with the highest MSAS symptom burden scores were shortness of breath, dry mouth, cough, sleep problems, and lack of energy in both groups.

Conclusions: Patients with moderate or severe airflow limitations experience multiple symptoms with high severity and distress. An assessment of their multidimensional symptom profile might contribute to better symptom management.

Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Respiratory nursing; Symptom assessment; Symptom experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cost of Illness
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology