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New and innovative instrument to assess breathlessness

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A new and innovative instrument to assess breathlessness – the Dyspnoea-12 - has been published in Thorax.

The researchers have identified that the Dyspnoea-12 has the potential to be a valuable tool for both clinical practice and research. There are a number of key features that make this new instrument unique:

  • It was derived from the largest pool of breathlessness descriptors (n = 81) ever assembled.
  • It quantifies breathlessness using descriptions by 358 patients including physical symptoms and the emotional affect on the patient.
  • The instrument was developed in three disease populations – COPD, interstitial lung disease and heart failure and it can be used to make direct comparisons between patients with different diseases.
  • It uses the reference frame ‘these days’ to capture the patient’s general perception of their symptoms.
  • Patients found the Dyspnoea-12 was easy to complete and understand, and helpful in expressing their experience of being breathless.

Dyspnoea-12 can be used in routine clinical monitoring, clinical research and trials of interventions designed to address the impact of breathlessness.

This paper is part of a programme of research, led by Dr Yorke at University of Salford, devoted to better understanding the experience of breathlessness and exploring ways to better support patients and their families living with breathlessness.

For further information please contact Dr Janelle Yorke

(Reference) Yorke J, et al (2009) Quantification of dyspnoea using descriptors: Development and initial testing of the Dyspnoea-12 (Thorax Online First 2009 as 10.1136/thx.2009.118521).

The research is sponsored by Clinical Research Committee – Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Action Medical Research UK.

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