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Quality of life changes with duration of chronic breathlessness: a random sample of community-dwelling people.

Currow, David C.; Chang, Sungwon; Grande, Eleonora Dal; Ferreira, Diana H; Kochovska, Slavica; Kinchin PhD, Irina; Johnson, Miriam J.; Ekstrom, Magnus


David C. Currow

Sungwon Chang

Eleonora Dal Grande

Diana H Ferreira

Slavica Kochovska

Irina Kinchin PhD

Magnus Ekstrom


Chronic breathlessness is associated with poorer quality of life. This population study aimed to define dimensions of quality of life (QoL), and duration and dominant causes of breathlessness that most diminished QoL.

This cross-sectional, population-based, randomised survey of adults (n=2,977) in South Australia collected data on demographics, modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) breathlessness and QoL (EQ-5D-5L; SF-12). Data weighted to the census were analysed for relationships between EQ-5D-5L and its dimensions with mMRC. Regression models controlled for age, sex, education, rurality and body mass index.

2,883 responses were analysed: 49% were male; mean age 48 years (SD 19). As mMRC worsened, EQ-5D-5L and its dimensions worsened. More severe chronic breathlessness was iteratively associated with lower mobility, daily activities and worse pain/discomfort. For self-care and anxiety/depression, impairment was only with the most severe breathlessness. Respondents who had chronic breathlessness for two to six years had the worst quality of life scores. People who attributed their breathlessness to cardiac failure had poorer quality of life. Respondents who reported a cardiac cause for their breathlessness had worse mobility, poorer usual activities and more pain than the other causes.
The regression analyses showed that worse chronic breathlessness was associated with worsening QoL in each dimension of EQ-5D-5L, with the exception of the self-care, which only worsened with the most severe breathlessness.

This is the first study to report on chronic breathlessness and impairment across dimensions of QoL and differences by its duration. Mobility, usual activity and pain drive these reductions.


Currow, D. C., Chang, S., Grande, E. D., Ferreira, D. H., Kochovska, S., Kinchin PhD, I., …Ekstrom, M. (2020). Quality of life changes with duration of chronic breathlessness: a random sample of community-dwelling people. Journal of pain and symptom management,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 11, 2020
Online Publication Date May 20, 2020
Publication Date 2020-10
Deposit Date Jul 2, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 21, 2021
Journal Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Print ISSN 0885-3924
Electronic ISSN 1873-6513
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Chronic breathlessness; Quality of life; Population survey; Prevalence study
Public URL
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