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Monday 01 May 2000

Does spirometry predict dyspnoea in advanced cancer?

By: Heyse-Moore L, Beynon T, Ross V.

Palliat Med 2000 May;14(3):189-95

This study explores the similarities and differences between subjective assessments of dyspnoea and objective spirometric indices of respiratory function in advanced cancer. Of 155 patients investigated, 71 (46%) were dyspnoeic and 108 (70%) had spirometry (94 post-salbutamol). Of the 94, 84 had height and weight measured to calculate predicted spirometry. Average dyspnoea levels over 24 h were measured by patient visual analogue scales (VASMe 24). Forced expiratory volume after 1 s (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) were almost always lower than predicted, indicating frequent impaired respiratory function. Mean spirometric increase post-salbutamol was 21% for FEV1 and 12% for FVC. Correlations between VAS dyspnoea scores and spirometry were low; hence, the latter cannot be relied upon as a measure of the former. Respiratory impairment tended to be obstructive (mean FEV1/FVC = 65%).

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