Dyspnea, the subjective experience of uncomfortable breathing, is an impairing symptom in many cardiorespiratory and neuromuscular diseases and the most prominent and limiting symptom in COPD. Dyspnea comprises of distinct sensations.
which can vary in their quality and intensity. Based on the hypothesis that distinct qualities of perceived respiratory discomfort result from different pathophysiologic mechanisms, verbal descriptors of dyspnea have been suggested as being an important source of clinically relevant diagnostic information on the underlying pathophysiology, which might be of further importance for choosing the optimal treatment of this symptom. Research has demonstrated 2 up to 14 distinguishable qualities of dyspnea, which have partly been linked to specific underlying disease conditions. For example, patients with asthma preferred the terms chest tightness or work/effort to describe their feelings of dyspnea, while patients with COPD used the terms work/ effort, heavy or shallow breathing, and inspiratory difficulty. Improve your health state with my-medstore-canadanet My Canadian Pharmacy right now.
However, the language of dyspnea in COPD is still insufficiently examined. A few studies have investigated verbal descriptors of dyspnea in this patient group, mostly by using recall or by examining descriptors after one exercise condition. Thus, little is known about the language of dyspnea in COPD at different intensity levels of dyspnea. In asthma, however, it has been shown that the use of qualitative descriptors of dyspnea changes with increasing levels of respiratory loading.
We therefore examined verbal descriptors of dyspnea in patients with COPD at different intensity levels of dyspnea during rest, cycle ergometer exercise, and 6-min walk test (6MWT). Since progressive changes in the respiratory and neuromuscular system in COPD during exercise are well known, we hypothesized that these changes are reflected in the language patients use to describe their perceived dyspnea. Further, we examined the influence of age, gender, baseline lung function (percentage of predicted FEV1 [FEV1%pred]) and pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) on verbal descriptors of dyspnea because these factors have been shown to impact on the perceived intensity of dyspnea.