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Breathlessness; the Experience for the Patient, an Approach for the Clinician

  • Sara Booth
  • Julie Burkin
  • Catherine Moffat
  • Anna Spathis
Chapter

Abstract

Intractable breathlessness is the most common devastating symptom of advanced cardio-respiratory disease, both malignant and non-malignant in nature. It is a global problem affecting millions of people worldwide as the incidence or COPD, lung cancer and heart failure continue to grow. Intractable breathlessness occurs when the uncomfortable sensation of the need to breathe persists even when the underlying medical condition and any other known aetiological factors have been maximally treated. In the most severe form it can be present at rest or on the most minimal exertion such as talking or washing. The fear and physical limitations the symptom imposes affects those closest to the patient as well, and over a period of years social isolation and depression are common both in the sufferer and the carers. There has been significant progress in recent years in understanding both the pathophysiology of breathlessness and ways it might be helped. This chapter sets out to outline both the experience of intractable breathlessness for patients and families and current best practice in managing the symptom.

Keywords

Interstitial Lung Disease Breathing Exercise Alpha1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Lung Damage Fibrosing Alveolitis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Further Reading

  1. Spathis A, Davies HE, Booth S. Respiratory disease; from advanced disease to bereavement. Oxford: OUP; 2011.Google Scholar
  2. Booth S, Moffat C, Farquhar M, Higginson IJ, Burkin J. Developing a breathlessness intervention service for patients with palliative and supportive care needs, irrespective of diagnosis. J Palliat Care. 2011;27(1):28–36.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Booth S, Dudgeon D. Dyspnoea in advanced disease: a guide to clinical management. Oxford: OUP; 2005.Google Scholar
  4. Booth S, Moffat C, Burkin J. The BIS manual. Cambridge: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; 2012.Google Scholar
  5. Williams S. Chronic respiratory illness. The experience of illness series. Routledge: Chapman & Hall; 1993.Google Scholar
  6. Parshall MB, Schwartzsein RM, Adams L, et al. On behalf of the ATS Committee on Dyspnea. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2012;185(4):435–52.Google Scholar
  7. Gysels MH, Higginson IJ. The lived experience of breathlessness and its implications for care: a qualitative comparison in cancer, COPD, heart failure and MND. BMC Palliative Care. 2011;10:15.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Booth
    • 1
  • Julie Burkin
    • 1
  • Catherine Moffat
    • 1
  • Anna Spathis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Palliative CareCambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustCambridgeUK

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