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Introduction: Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) often present to the ED with acute exacerbations (AE-COPD) of the disease. A potential occult yet fatal disease that might contribute or accompany an AE-COPD presentation is a pulmonary embolism (PE). Previous studies have investigated and report rates of PE in up to 29% of patients presenting with AE-COPD. Misdiagnoses of PE leads to poor outcomes, however, over-testing for PE also presents with substantial risks to the patient and strain on acute care resources. The goal of this study was to pragmatically identify the prevalence and 30-day incidence of PE in patients presenting with AE-COPD to EDs, as well as the burden and yield of PE investigations. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of extracted data for patients □50 years old presenting to one of four emergency departments in Calgary with an AE-COPD since 2013. Patients with a history of outpatient anticoagulation therapy from a community pharmacy were excluded. Each patient chart was reviewed to identify a diagnosis of PE during the admission for an AE-COPD, or 30 days post discharge from an AE-COPD admission or ED presentation. An AE-COPD diagnosis was defined as a primary. Results: A total of 9554 AE-COPD ED patient visits were included in the study. 0.69% (95%CI 0.54 to 0.88) were identified to have a PE. 26 of the 66 (39.4%) were diagnosed during an AE-COPD inpatient admission, while 43 (65.2%) were diagnosed within 30 days post-discharge from an AE-COPD admission or ED presentation. Since 2016, 7.4% of AE-COPD patients underwent a CT-PE, while 16.7% underwent a d-dimer. The most common chief complaint in PE patients was dyspnea (75.8%). The mean age of the PE diagnosed was 73.4, with nearly equal representation of both sexes. Many patients had underlying comorbidities, such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer of various sites, all of which are risk factors for developing a PE. Conclusion: The prevalence and 30-day incidence of PE in AE-COPD patients appears to be lower than what was previously reported in the literature. Despite this, a significant proportion of AE-COPD patients were exposed to the risks and burden of a PE work up, with low diagnostic yield. PE investigations in AE-COPD should be used selectively and could inform a quality improvement indicator. A future prospective study would drastically contribute to whether a PE clinical work up should be recommended and of value to patients.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who experience acute exacerbations usually require treatment with oral steroids or antibiotics, depending on the etiology of the exacerbation. Current management is based on clinician's assessment and judgement, which lacks diagnostic accuracy and results in overtreatment. A test to guide these decisions in primary care is in development. We developed an early decision model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of this treatment stratification test in the primary care setting in the United Kingdom.
A combined decision tree and Markov model was developed of COPD progression and the exacerbation care pathway. Sensitivity analysis was carried out to guide technology development and inform evidence generation requirements.
The base case test strategy cost GBP 423 (USD 542) less and resulted in a health gain of 0.15 quality-adjusted life-years per patient compared with not testing. Testing reduced antibiotic prescriptions by 30 percent, potentially lowering the risk of antimicrobial resistance developing. In sensitivity analysis, the result depended on the clinical effects of treating patients according to the test result, as opposed to treating according to clinical judgement alone, for which there is limited evidence. The results were less sensitive to the accuracy of the test.
Testing may be cost-saving in primary care, but this requires robust evidence on whether test-guided treatment is effective. High quality evidence on the clinical utility of testing is required for early modeling of diagnostic tests generally.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
We aimed to develop, deliver and evaluate a brief training programme for primary care mental health staff in NW London focussing on long-term physical health conditions (LTCs). The objective was to improve participants’ knowledge, understanding and confidence (self-efficacy) in providing effective support to people with LTCs. The second objective was to develop an online version to be made available more widely.
The project was commissioned by NW London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups as part of a strategy to develop more joined up care and support for people with mental health needs. Training was developed by a team of experts, with input from commissioners, service users, clinicians and service managers.
Training was delivered via two-day interactive workshops providing: (i) key facts (informed by a review of published research and publically available health information); (ii) opportunity to engage with the ‘lived experience’ of people with LTCs (via videos, role plays, case studies and group discussion); (iii) skills-based training (in specific assessment and intervention methods). Knowledge, understanding and confidence (with respect to supporting people with LTCs) were assessed at the start and end of the training. An online training programme (with embedded evaluation questionnaire) was also developed, covering the same themes as the workshop.
Mental health staff (n=60) reported limited knowledge, understanding and confidence before the workshop, underlining the need for training. Knowledge of LTCs improved significantly following training (P<0.0001), along with awareness of the impact of poor psychological wellbeing on physical health (P<0.05) and the role of psychological therapies in supporting people with LTCs (P<0.0001). Self-efficacy also improved (P<0.001). Online training was accessed by 894 participants in the first six months and 187 provided feedback via the evaluation questionnaire. Responses indicated that participants found the training useful (88%), interesting (91%) and easy to understand (97%).
Low energy and protein intakes have been associated with an increased risk of malnutrition in outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We aimed to assess the energy and protein intakes of hospitalised COPD patients according to nutritional risk status and requirements, and the relative contribution from meals, snacks, drinks and oral nutritional supplements (ONS), and to examine whether either energy or protein intake predicts outcomes. Subjects were COPD patients (n 99) admitted to Landspitali University Hospital in 1 year (March 2015–March 2016). Patients were screened for nutritional risk using a validated screening tool, and energy and protein intake for 3 d, 1–5 d after admission to the hospital, was estimated using a validated plate diagram sheet. The percentage of patients reaching energy and protein intake ≥75 % of requirements was on average 59 and 37 %, respectively. Malnourished patients consumed less at mealtimes and more from ONS than lower-risk patients, resulting in no difference in total energy and protein intakes between groups. No clear associations between energy or protein intake and outcomes were found, although the association between energy intake, as percentage of requirement, and mortality at 12 months of follow-up was of borderline significance (OR 0·12; 95 % CI 0·01, 1·15; P=0·066). Energy and protein intakes during hospitalisation in the study population failed to meet requirements. Further studies are needed on how to increase energy and protein intakes during hospitalisation and after discharge and to assess whether higher intake in relation to requirement of hospitalised COPD patients results in better outcomes.
To investigate if cardiac/pulmonary functional tests and variables obtained from clinical practice (body mass index, dyspnea, functional class, clinical judgment of disability to perform an exercise test and previous hospitalization rate) are related to mortality in patients with overlap chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic heart failure (CHF).
Although the coexistence of COPD and CHF has been growingly reported, description of survival predictors considering the presence of both conditions is still scarce.
Using a cohort design, outpatients with the previous diagnosis of COPD and/or CHF that performed both spirometry and echocardiography in the same year were followed-up during a mean of 20.9±8.5 months.
Of the 550 patients initially evaluated, 301 had both spirometry and echocardiography: 160 (53%) with COPD on isolation; 100 (33%) with CHF on isolation; and 41 (14%) with overlap. All groups presented similar mortality: COPD 17/160 (11%); CHF 12/100 (12%); and overlap 7/41 (17%) (P=0.73). In the overlap group (n=41), inability to exercise and hospitalization rate were the unique parameters associated with higher mortality (seven events) in univariate analyses. In conclusion, inability to exercise and hospitalization rate emerged as the unique parameters associated with mortality in our sample.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) improves outcomes in patients with respiratory distress. Additional benefits are seen with CPAP application in the prehospital setting. Theoretical safety concerns regarding Basic Life Support (BLS) providers using CPAP exist. In Delaware’s (USA) two-tiered Emergency Medical Service (EMS) system, BLS often arrives before Advanced Life Support (ALS).
This study fills a gap in literature by evaluating the safety of CPAP applied by BLS prior to ALS arrival.
This was a retrospective, observational study using Quality Assurance (QA) data collected from October 2009 through December 2012 throughout a state BLS CPAP pilot program; CPAP training was provided to BLS providers prior to participation. Collected data include pulse-oximetry (spO2), respiratory rate (RR), heart rate (HR), skin color, and Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) before and after CPAP application. Pre-CPAP and post-CPAP values were compared using McNemar’s and t-tests. Advanced practitioners evaluated whether CPAP was correctly applied and monitored and whether the patient condition was “improved,” “unchanged,” or “worsened.”
Seventy-four patients received CPAP by BLS; CPAP was correctly indicated and applied for all 74 patients. Respiratory status and CPAP were appropriately monitored and documented in the majority of cases (98.6%). A total of 89.2% of patients improved and 4.1% worsened; CPAP significantly reduced the proportion of patients with SpO2<92%, RR>24, and cyanosis (P<.01). The GCS improved from mean (standard deviation [SD]) 13.9 (SD=1.9) to 14.1 (SD=1.9) after CPAP (mean difference [MD]=0.17; 95% CI, -0.49 to 0.83; P=.59). The HR decreased from 115.7 (SD=53) to 105.1 (SD=37) after CPAP (MD=-10.9; 95% CI, -3.2 to -18.6; P<.01). The SpO2 increased from 80.8% (SD=11.4) to 96.9% (SD=4.2) after CPAP (MD=17.8; 95% CI, 14.2-21.5; P<.01).
The BLS providers were able to determine patients for whom CPAP was indicated, to apply it correctly, and to appropriately monitor the status of these patients. The majority of patients who received CPAP by BLS providers had improvement in their clinical status and vital signs. The findings suggest that CPAP can be safely used by BLS providers with appropriate training.
SahuN, MatthewsP, GronerK, PapasMA, MegargelR. Observational Study on Safety of Prehospital BLS CPAP in Dyspnea. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(6):610–614.
Despite significant needs, patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) make limited use of palliative care, in part because the current models of palliative care do not address their key concerns.
Our aim was to develop a tailored model of palliative care for patients with COPD and their family caregivers.
Based on information gathered within a program of studies (qualitative research exploring experiences, a cohort study examining service use), an expert advisory committee evaluated and integrated data, developed responses, formulated principles to inform care, and made recommendations for practice. The informing studies were conducted in two Australian states: Victoria and South Australia.
A series of principles underpinning the model were developed, including that it must be: (1) focused on patient and caregiver; (2) equitable, enabling access to components of palliative care for a group with significant needs; (3) accessible; and (4) less resource-intensive than expansion of usual palliative care service delivery. The recommended conceptual model was to have the following features: (a) entry to palliative care occurs routinely triggered by clinical transitions in care; (b) care is embedded in routine ambulatory respiratory care, ensuring that it is regarded as “usual” care by patients and clinicians alike; (c) the tasks include screening for physical and psychological symptoms, social and community support, provision of information, and discussions around goals and preferences for care; and (d) transition to usual palliative care services is facilitated as the patient nears death.
Significance of results:
Our proposed innovative and conceptual model for provision of palliative care requires future formal testing using rigorous mixed-methods approaches to determine if theoretical propositions translate into effectiveness, feasibility, and benefits (including economic benefits). There is reason to consider adaptation of the model for the palliative care of patients with other nonmalignant conditions.
Individuals with chronic respiratory conditions may be at increased risk for pertussis. We conducted a retrospective administrative claims analysis to examine the incidence and economic burden of diagnosed pertussis among adolescents and adults in the USA with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma. Patients aged ⩾11 years with diagnosed pertussis and pre-existing COPD (n = 343) or asthma (n = 1041) were matched 1:1 to patients with diagnosed pertussis but without COPD or asthma. Differences in all-cause costs (‘excess’ costs) during the 45-day and 3-month and 6-month periods before and after the pertussis index date were calculated; adjusted excess costs were estimated via multivariate regressions. The incidence of diagnosed pertussis was higher among patients with COPD or asthma than among matched patients. Compared with matched patients, patients with pertussis and pre-existing COPD or asthma accrued greater all-cause adjusted costs across study periods ($3694 and $1193 more, respectively, in the 45-day period; $4173 and $1301 more in the 3-month period; and $6154 and $1639 more in the 6-month period; all P < 0·0001). Patients with pre-existing COPD or asthma experience an increased economic burden after diagnosed pertussis and may especially benefit from targeted tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccination strategies.
Lutein, a fat-soluble carotenoid with antioxidant properties, may have an effect on respiratory health. However, the evidence is inconsistent. We aimed to cross-sectionally investigate the association between lutein intake and lung function by measuring forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and FEV1/FVC% in adults (aged 45–79 years). We included 4402 participants from the Rotterdam Study, a prospective cohort study in The Netherlands. Lutein intake was assessed using a validated FFQ. Lung function was assessed using spirometry around the same time point as the dietary assessment. No independent association was found between lutein intake and FEV1 (−12·17 (95 % CI −34·21, 9·87) ml per sd increase in lutein) after adjustment for age, sex, height, cohort effect, ethnicity, education, weight, total daily energy intake, smoking status, physical activity, and intakes of fatty acids, dietary fibre, alcohol, β-carotene, β-crypotoxanthin, lycopene and zeaxanthin. There was also no association between lutein and FVC or FEV1/FVC%. However, after stratification by smoking status, lutein intake was significantly associated with lower FEV1/FVC% in current smokers (−1·69 (95 % CI −2·93, −0·45) % per sd increase of lutein) independent of other carotenoids. The present study does not support an independent association between lutein intake and lung function in adults. However, future studies should focus on the potential inverse association between high lutein intake and lung function in specific risk groups such as smokers.
Introduction: Patients with acute exacerbations of heart failure (HF) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be at high risk for preventable adverse events (AEs). Preventable AEs are ED care-associated complications due to medical error. Our objective was to identify and characterize preventable AEs among ED patients over 50 presenting with dyspnea from an acute exacerbation of HF or COPD; who were subsequently admitted or discharged. Methods: We conducted a multicentre health records review from six academic centers in Ontario and Alberta. We analysed health records for all prospectively enrolled patients who experienced flagged outcomes: relapse to ED within 14 days requiring admission; admission to a monitored unit (AMU), cardiac care unit(CCU), or intensive care unit(ICU); intubation(ETI); non-invasive ventilation(NIV); diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction(AMI); or death within 30 days. Using a validated approach, an ED physician analyzed case summaries for flagged outcomes that were associated with ED care, designated as AEs. Preventable AEs had contributing errors in diagnosis, management, procedure, medications or unsafe disposition decisions. We analyzed these data using thematic coding and descriptive statistics. Results: Of 2,515 patients enrolled (1,100 HF and 1,415 COPD), 210 patients experienced flagged outcomes, 47.1% of which were female, 64.3% had HF and the remaining COPD. The majority (86.2%) of flagged outcomes were related to underlying disease, but 13.8% of cases met criteria for AE and all were deemed preventable. Of the identified AEs, 72.4% returned to the ED and required admission to hospital; 17.2% were admitted to ICU, CCU, or AMU; 6.9% of patients died; 3.4% were intubated; 3.4% had a diagnosis of AMI and 0% required NIV. We found 75.8% of preventable AEs resulted from a management error (eg. not prescribing steroids on discharge for moderate COPD exacerbation); 31.0% from an unsafe disposition decision and 10.3% of AEs resulted from diagnostic error. Conclusion: Patients with acute exacerbations of HF and COPD are at high risk of preventable AEs directly related to care provided in the ED. Management and disposition decisions were a concerning source of error and should compel and focus future quality improvement efforts.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most important and prevalent diseases suffered by the elderly. Evidence exists that its onset and severity might be conditioned by antioxidant status. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between antioxidant status and COPD in institutionalised elderly people. In all, 183 elderly people aged >65 years (twenty-one had COPD and 160 healthy controls) were studied. The subjects’ diets were investigated via the use of precise individual weighing for 7 d. Body weight, height, and biceps and triceps skinfold thickness were measured, and body fat (kg) and BMI (kg/m2) were calculated. Serum retinol, α-tocopherol, β-carotene and vitamin C levels were determined. Subjects with COPD ate less fruits than healthy controls (117 (sd 52) v. 192 (sd 161) g/d), their coverage of the recommended intake of vitamin C was smaller (150 (sd 45) v. 191 (sd 88) %; note that both exceeded 100 %) and their diets had a lower antioxidant capacity (6558 (sd 2381) v. 9328 (sd 5367) mmol trolox equivalent/d). Those with COPD had lower serum vitamin C and α-tocopherol concentrations than healthy controls (32·4 (sd 15·3) v. 41·5 (sd 14·8) µmol/l and 12·1 (sd 3·2) v. 13·9 (sd 2·8) µmol/l, respectively). In addition, subjects with α-tocopherol <14·1µmol/l (50th percentile) were at 6·43 times greater risk of having COPD than those subjects with ≥14·1µmol/l (OR 6·43; 95 % CI 1·17, 35·24; P<0·05), taking sex, age, use of tobacco, body fat and vitamin E intake as covariables. Subjects with COPD had diets of poorer antioxidant quality, especially with respect to vitamins C and E, compared with healthy controls.
Vitamin D has an important role in calcium homeostasis and is known to have various health-promoting effects. Moreover, potential interactions between vitamin D and physical activity have been suggested. This study aims to investigate the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and exercise capacity quantified by cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET). For this, 1377 participants from the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP-1) and 750 participants from the independent SHIP-TREND cohort were investigated. Standardised incremental exercise tests on a cycle ergometer were performed to assess exercise capacity by VO2 at anaerobic threshold, peakVO2, O2 pulse and peak power output. Serum 25(OH)D levels were measured by an automated chemiluminescence immunoassay. In SHIP-1, 25(OH)D levels were positively associated with all considered parameters of cardiopulmonary exercise capacity. Subjects with high 25(OH)D levels (4th quartile) showed an up to 25 % higher exercise capacity compared with subjects with low 25(OH)D levels (1st quartile). All associations were replicated in the independent SHIP-TREND cohort and were independent of age, sex, season and other interfering factors. In conclusion, significant positive associations between 25(OH)D and parameters of CPET were detected in two large cohorts of healthy adults.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is characterised by oxidative stress, but little is known about the associations between antioxidant status and all-cause mortality in adults with this disease. The objective of the present study was to examine the prospective associations between concentrations of α- and β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, lycopene, Se, vitamin C and α-tocopherol and all-cause mortality among US adults with obstructive lung function. Data collected from 1492 adults aged 20–79 years with obstructive lung function in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (1988–94) were used. Through 2006, 629 deaths were identified during a median follow-up period of 14 years. After adjustment for demographic variables, the concentrations of the following antioxidants modelled as continuous variables were found to be inversely associated with all-cause mortality among adults with obstructive lung function: α-carotene (P= 0·037); β-carotene (P= 0·022); cryptoxanthin (P= 0·022); lutein/zeaxanthin (P= 0·004); total carotenoids (P= 0·001); vitamin C (P< 0·001). In maximally adjusted models, only the concentrations of lycopene (P= 0·013) and vitamin C (P= 0·046) were found to be significantly and inversely associated with all-cause mortality. No effect modification by sex was detected, but the association between lutein/zeaxanthin concentrations and all-cause mortality varied by smoking status (Pinteraction= 0·048). The concentrations of lycopene and vitamin C were inversely associated with all-cause mortality in this cohort of adults with obstructive lung function.
The end stage of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is described as prolonged, and the symptom burden for patients with COPD is often high. It progresses slowly over several years and can be punctuated by abrupt exacerbations that sometimes end in sudden death or a recovery of longer or shorter duration. This makes it difficult to identify the critical junctures in order to prognosticate the progress and time of death. Patients with COPD often express a fear that the dying process is going to be difficult. There is a fear that the dyspnea will worsen and lead to death by suffocation. The present article aimed to retrospectively describe the final year of life for patients with advanced COPD with a focus on death and dying from the perspective of relatives.
Interviews were conducted with the relatives of deceased family members who had advanced COPD. In total, 13 interviews were conducted and analyzed by means of content analysis.
All relatives described the patients as having had a peaceful death that did not correspond with the worry expressed earlier by both the patients and themselves. During the final week of life, two different patterns in the progress of the illness trajectory emerged: a temporary improvement where death was unexpected and a continued deterioration where death was inevitable.
Significance of Results:
The patients and their relatives lived with uncertainty up until the time of death. Little support for psychosocial and existential needs was available. It is essential for the nurse to create relationships with patients and relatives that enable them to talk about dying and death on their own terms.
Oxygen is one of the most frequently-used therapeutic agents in medicine and the most commonly administered drug by prehospital personnel. There is increasing evidence of harm with too much supplemental oxygen in certain conditions, including stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), neonatal resuscitations, and in postresuscitation care. Recent guidelines published by the British Thoracic Society (BTS) advocate titrated oxygen therapy, but these guidelines have not been widely adapted in the out-of-hospital setting where high-flow oxygen is the standard. This report is a description of the implementation of a titrated oxygen protocol in a large urban-suburban Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system and a discussion of the practical application of this out-of-hospital protocol.
BossonN, Gausche-HillM, KoenigW. Implementation of a Titrated Oxygen Protocol in the Out-of-Hospital Setting. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;28(4):1-6.
A close relationship between upper and lower respiratory tract diseases has been reported. However, little is known about pulmonary function in patients with upper respiratory tract diseases.
Pulmonary function was measured in: 68 patients with chronic rhinosinusitis without nasal polyps, 135 patients with chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, 89 patients with allergic rhinitis and 100 normal control subjects. The relationships between pulmonary function and clinical parameters were assessed. These parameters included radiographic severity of chronic rhinosinusitis, serum total immunoglobulin E levels, concentrations of cytokines in nasal secretions and exhaled nitric oxide levels.
The pulmonary function of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis was significantly affected. The level of interleukin-5 in nasal secretions was significantly correlated with pulmonary function in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis.
The findings indicated latent obstructive lung function changes in chronic rhinosinusitis patients. The cytokines in nasal secretions might be related to obstructive lung function changes in chronic rhinosinusitis.
This chapter discusses the diagnosis, evaluation and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Airflow restriction may be severe, leading to patients presenting in an upright or tripod position, with cyanosis, altered mental status, and respiratory arrest. Patients should be placed on supplemental oxygen therapy as needed to maintain adequate oxygen saturations of 88-92%. Over-oxygenating the COPD patient can lead to worsening ventilation-perfusion mismatch and apnea. Patients must be monitored for signs of impending respiratory failure. CPAP and BiPAP may be considered for certain patients with moderate to severe COPD exacerbations. The goal of ventilator management in the COPD patient is to oxygenate and ventilate without causing barotrauma and hemodynamic instability. If patients acutely decompensate while receiving invasive or noninvasive positive pressure ventilation, the possibility of pneumothorax and intrinsic positive end-expiratory pressure (auto-PEEP) should be considered.
Breathlessness is a subjective symptom, which makes it difficult to define and understand. The aim of the present study was to illuminate how patients suffering from breathlessness experience their everyday life.
The study was a qualitative study, and the focus of the analysis was the patients' descriptions of their experiences of breathlessness using a diary with two unstructured questions for a period of 7 consecutive days. Sixteen participants: 7 men, mean age 65 ± 7 (range 55–73 years old), and 9 women, mean age 65 ± 9 (range 50–72 years old) participated in the study.
Two themes emerged from the analysis: 1) Impaired quality of life and 2) symptom tolerance and adaptation. The theme “impaired quality of life” included the categories limited physical ability, psychological burdens, and social life barriers. The theme “symptom tolerance and adaptation” included importance of health care, social support, hobbies and leisure activities, and coping strategies.
Significance of results:
The findings in our study showed that patients, in spite of considerable difficulties with shortness of breath, found relief in several types of activities, in addition to drug therapy. The result indicates that the “biopsychosocial model” is an appealing approach that should be discussed further to gain a better understanding of breathlessness.