Drivers of Breathlessness
Breathlessness is a debilitating symptom of chronic respiratory disease, which has a negative impact on the quality of life, psychological wellbeing and functional status of the patient. Its management is challenging and does not guarantee good symptom control. Anna Spathis and her team at the Cambridge Breathlessness Intervention Service have developed the Breathing, Thinking, Functioning model, which serves to increase understanding of breathlessness and how it is perceived in the patient, and to provide a rationale and focus for practical treatment.
It is a practical, holistic approach to the management of breathlessness for clinicians to consider when traditional therapies have been tried. Noel Baxter, Chair of the Primary Care Respiratory Society-UK, here explores the model, highlighting the vicious cycle of predominant cognitive and behavioural reactions to breathlessness, and suggests symptom management approaches for each of the three domains.