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Contributions of a hand-held fan to self-management of chronic breathlessness

Luckett, Tim; Phillips, Jane; Johnson, Miriam J.; Farquhar, Morag; Swan, Flavia; Assen, Teresa; Bhattarai, Priyanka; Booth, Sara


Tim Luckett

Jane Phillips

Morag Farquhar

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Dr Flavia Swan
Research fellow in cancer rehabilitation

Teresa Assen

Priyanka Bhattarai

Sara Booth


© ERS 2017. This study explored the benefits of a hand-held fan as perceived by patients with chronic breathlessness and their carers. A secondary multimethod analysis was conducted of interview data collected in three clinical trials. Two researchers independently coded level of benefit qualitatively reported by each patient. Univariate and multivariate statistics were used to explore perceived benefit as a factor of sex, age and diagnosis. Qualitative analysis used an integrative method. 133 patients commented on the fan, of whom 72 had a carer. Diagnoses included nonmalignant (n=91, 68.4%) and malignant (n=21, 15.8%) conditions. Of 111 patients who provided codable data, four (3.6%) perceived no benefit, 16 (14.4%) were uncertain, 80 (72.0%) perceived some benefit and 11 (10.0%) perceived very substantial benefit. Multivariate analysis was inconclusive. Benefit was described in terms of shorter recovery time, especially after activity. 10 (7.5%) patients said the fan reduced their need for home oxygen or inhaled β-agonist medications. Negative perceptions of a few included dislike of the cooling sensation and embarrassment in public. Findings suggest that a hand-held fan is a portable intervention with few disadvantages from which most patients with chronic breathlessness will derive benefit alongside other nonpharmacological and pharmacological strategies. Research is needed to optimise guidance on fan administration.


Luckett, T., Phillips, J., Johnson, M. J., Farquhar, M., Swan, F., Assen, T., …Booth, S. (2017). Contributions of a hand-held fan to self-management of chronic breathlessness. European respiratory journal, 50(2), Article 1700262.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 4, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 17, 2017
Publication Date 2017-08
Deposit Date Apr 14, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 20, 2020
Journal European Respiratory Journal
Print ISSN 0903-1936
Electronic ISSN 1399-3003
Publisher European Respiratory Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Issue 2
Article Number 1700262
Keywords Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
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Copyright Statement
©2017 The authors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder

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