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Activities forgone because of chronic breathlessness: a cross-sectional, population prevalence study

Kochovska, Slavica; Chang, Sungwon; Morgan, Deidre D; Ferreira, Diana; Sidhu, Manraaj; Saleh Moussa, Rayan; Johnson, Miriam J; Ekström, Magnus; Currow, David C


Slavica Kochovska

Sungwon Chang

Deidre D Morgan

Diana Ferreira

Manraaj Sidhu

Rayan Saleh Moussa

Magnus Ekström

David C Currow


Chronic breathlessness is a prevalent, disabling syndrome affecting many people for years. Identifying the impact of chronic breathlessness on people’s activities in the general population is pivotal for designing symptom management strategies.
This study aimed to evaluate the association between chronic breathlessness and activities respondents identify can no longer be undertaken (‘activities foregone’).
This population-based, cross sectional, online survey used a market research company’s database of 30,000 registrants for each sex, generating the planned sample size - 3,000 adults reflecting Australia’s 2016 Census by sex, age group, state of residence and rurality.
The population of focus (n=583) reported a modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) breathlessness scale >1 and experienced this breathlessness for >3 months.
Activities forgone were categorised by mMRC using coding derived from the Dyspnea Management Questionnaire domains. Activities were classified as ‘higher/lower intensity’ using Human Energy Expenditure scale.
Respondents were: male 50.3%; median age 50.0 (IQR 29.0); with 66% living in metropolitan areas; reporting 1,749 activities forgone.
For people with mMRC 1 (n=533), 35% had not given up any activity, decreasing to 9% for mMRC 2 (n=38) and 3% for mMRC 3-4 (n=12). Intense sport (e.g. jogging, bike riding) was the top activity forgone: 42% (mMRC 1); 32% (mMRC 2); and 36% (mMRC 3-4). For respondents with mMRC 3-4, the next most prevalent activities foregone were ‘sexual activities’ (14%); ‘lower intensity sports’ (11%) and ‘other activities’ (11%).
People progressively reduce a wide range of activities because of their chronic breathlessness.


Kochovska, S., Chang, S., Morgan, D. D., Ferreira, D., Sidhu, M., Saleh Moussa, R., …Currow, D. C. (2020). Activities forgone because of chronic breathlessness: a cross-sectional, population prevalence study. Palliative Medicine Reports, 1(1), 166-170.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 28, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 19, 2020
Publication Date 2020-08
Deposit Date Aug 4, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 24, 2020
Journal Palliative Medicine Reports
Publisher Mary Ann Liebert
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Issue 1
Pages 166-170
Keywords Breathlessness; Dyspnea; Symptom; Symptom assessment
Public URL
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Copyright Statement
© Slavica Kochovska et al., 2020; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. This Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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