AIM: To characterize episodic breathlessness (EB) in patients with advanced cancer, and to determine factors influencing its clinical appearance.
METHODS: A consecutive sample of advanced cancer patients admitted to an acute palliative care unit was surveyed. Continuous dyspnea and EB were measured by a numerical scale. The use of drugs used for continuous dyspnea and EB was recorded. Patients were asked about the characteristics of EB (frequency, intensity, duration and triggers). The Multidimensional dyspnea profile (MDP), the Brief dyspnea inventory (BDI), the Athens sleep scale (AIS) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were also administered.
RESULTS: From 439 advanced cancer patients surveyed, 34 and 27 patients had EB, without and with background dyspnea, respectively. The mean intensity and the number of episodes were higher in patients with background dyspnea (p < 0.0005 and p = 0.05, respectively). No differences in duration were observed. Most episodes lasted <10 min. A recognizable cause triggering EB was often found. The presence of both background dyspnea and EB was associated with higher values of MDP and BDI. EB was independently associated with frequency and intensity of background dyspnea (OR = 20.9, 95% CI (Confidence interval) 9.1-48.0; p < 0.0005 and OR = 1.97, 95% CI 1.09-3.58; p = 0.025, respectively) and a lower Karnofsky level (OR = 0.96, 95%CI 0.92-0.98, p = 0.05).
DISCUSSION: EB may occur in patients with and without continuous dyspnea, and is often induced by physical and psychological factors. EB intensity is higher in patients with continuous dyspnea. The duration was often so short that the use of drugs, as needed, may be too late, unless administered pre-emptively when the trigger was predictable.
Les soins palliatifs demandent de plus en plus de compétences médicales, soignantes, humaines et éthiques, afin d’asseoir leur légitimité dans des domaines de plus en plus pointus de la médecine – réanimation, néonatalogie, cancérologie, gériatrie – ainsi que dans la diversité des prises en charge, y compris au domicile ou en EPHAD.
Dans ce contexte de développement des formations et d’élargissement des champs de compétences de la pratique palliative, cette 5e édition du manuel offre :
-les indispensables connaissances thérapeutiques ;
-les outils, à destination des professionnels en vue d’acquérir une compétence clinique pour la rencontre et l’accompagnement humain, psychique et relationnelle de la personne malade ;
-une contextualisation de la pratique des soins palliatifs dans leur dimension sociale, sanitaire et politique ;
-des jalons pédagogiques pour le développement des soins palliatifs dans leur dimension pédagogique et de recherche.
Dyspnea is a symptom commonly experienced by cancer patients that causes significant suffering, worsens throughout a patient's disease trajectory, and can be more difficult to manage than other symptoms. Assessment of dyspnea is best accomplished by a subjective description; physiologic measures are only weakly correlated with the patient's experience. It is important to consider a wide range of possible malignant and nonmalignant causes of dyspnea in cancer patients and to correct underlying causes where possible. For patients with refractory dyspnea, opioids are a safe and effective treatment. Benzodiazepines can be considered, but the evidence for their use is weak. Supplemental oxygen is beneficial if patients are hypoxemic, or if they have concurrent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nonpharmacologic strategies such as fan therapy, exercise programs, and pulmonary rehabilitation can also be beneficial. One important diagnosis to consider in all cancer patients is venous thromboembolism. Prompt evaluation and treatment are vital to improving symptoms and outcomes for patients. Although dyspnea is common and potentially debilitating in cancer patients, it can be effectively managed with a structured approach to rule out reversible causes while concurrently treating the patient using appropriate therapeutic strategies.
Palliative care was initially developed for patients with advanced cancer. The concept has evolved and now encompasses any life-threatening chronic disease. Studies carried out to compare end-of-life symptoms have shown that although symptoms such as pain and dyspnea are as prevalent in patients with lung disease as in patients with cancer, the former receive less palliative treatment than do the latter. There is a need to refute the idea that palliative care should be adopted only when curative treatment is no longer possible. Palliative care should be provided in conjunction with curative treatment at the time of diagnosis, by means of a joint decision-making process; that is, the patient and the physician should work together to plan the therapy, seeking to improve quality of life while reducing physical, psychological, and spiritual suffering.
Dexmedetomidine is a selective a2-adrenoreceptor agonist with a broad range of effects, including easily controllable sedation, analgesia and anxiolysis. Because of these favorable features, it has replaced traditional sedatives, such as benzodiazepines, and is becoming the first-line sedative for the patients in intensive care units. Terminally ill patients often need sedatives for symptom management, especially for dyspnoea. However, the use of dexmedetomidine in a palliative care setting has rarely been recognised to date. We experienced a patient nearing the end of life due to uncontrollable pulmonary haemorrhage on ventilator, whose dyspnoea was successfully managed by dexmedetomidine in addition to continuous intravenous infusion of oxycodone.
Heart failure is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Standard treatment for heart failure includes pharmacotherapy and cardiac device implants. However, supportive approaches in managing dyspnea in heart failure are limited. This study aimed to test the efficacy of 20-minute mindful breathing in reducing dyspnea among patients admitted for acute decompensated heart failure. We conducted a parallel-group, non-blinded, randomized controlled trial of a single session of 20-minute mindful breathing plus standard care versus standard care alone among patients admitted for moderate to severe dyspnea due to acute decompensated heart failure, using the dyspnea score based on the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS), at the Cardiology Unit of University Malaya Medical Centre in Malaysia. Thirty participants were randomly assigned to a single session of 20-minute mindful breathing plus standard care (n = 15) or standard care alone (n = 15), with no difference in their demographic and clinical characteristics. There was statistically significant reduction in dyspnea in the intervention group compared to the control group at minute 20 (U = 49.5, n1 = 15, n2 =15, median reduction in ESAS dyspnea score 1 = 2, median reduction in ESAS dyspnea score 2 = 0, mean rank 1 = 11.30, mean rank 2 = 19.70, z = -2.692, r = 0.4, P = 0.007). Our results provided evidence that a single session of 20-minute mindful breathing was efficacious in reducing dyspnea for patients admitted for acute decompensated heart failure.
Background: Noninvasive ventilation may relieve dyspnea in advanced diseases, but noninvasive ventilation through mouthpiece has not been tested in palliative care.
Aim: To assess the feasibility of mouthpiece ventilation in relieving dyspnea among patients with advanced disease.
Design: In this prospective single-arm pilot study, the change in dyspnea by mouthpiece ventilation was measured with numeric rating scale (0–10) and 100-mm visual analogue scale. Overall, benefit and adverse events of the therapy were also assessed.
Setting/participants: Twenty-two patients with an advanced disease and dyspnea from the Tampere University Hospital or Pirkanmaa Hospice were treated with mouthpiece ventilation. The patients used mouthpiece ventilation as long as they preferred, but for a minimum of 5 min.
Results: After the treatment period lasting a median of 13.5 min, mean decrease in dyspnea was -1.1 (95 % confidence interval = -2.2 to -0.1, p = 0.034) on numeric rating scale and -11.8 mm (95 % confidence interval = -19.9 to -3.7, p = 0.006) on visual analogue scale. Nonetheless, there was a high variability in this effect between individual patients. About half of the patients found mouthpiece ventilation beneficial. No serious adverse events occurred, but dry mouth was the most common adverse event. Anxiety did not increase with mouthpiece ventilation.
Conclusion: Mouthpiece ventilation is feasible and may relieve dyspnea in some patients with an advanced disease. Further studies are needed, and these might concentrate on stable patients in early palliative care. Before initiation, this study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov (study no. NCT03012737).
Context: Nonpharmacological approaches are effective strategies for difficult to palliate breathlessness. Although acupuncture is effective for dyspnea in early-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), little is known about its effects in patients with advanced (non)malignant diseases.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to identify and examine the evidence of acupuncture on breathlessness in advanced malignant and nonmalignant diseases.
Methods: Systematic literature review of randomized controlled trials of acupuncture and acupressure searched in five databases. Included were adult participants with at least 25% having advanced diseases such as cancer or COPD with severe breathlessness. Primary outcome was severity of dyspnea on Visual Analogue Scale or Borg Scale. Secondary outcomes included quality of life, function, and acceptability. Data were pooled using a random effects model of standardized mean differences.
Results: Twelve studies with 597 patients (347 COPD, 190 advanced cancer) were included. For breathlessness severity, significant differences were obtained in a meta-analysis (10 studies with 480 patients; standardized mean difference (SMD) = -1.77 [95% CI -3.05, -0.49; P = 0.007; I2 = 90%]) and in a subgroup analysis of using sham acupuncture control groups and a treatment duration of at least three weeks (6 studies with 302 patients; SMD = -2.53 [95% CI -4.07, -0.99; P = 0.001; I2 = 91%]). Exercise tolerance (6-minute walk test) improved significantly in the acupuncture group (6 studies with 287 patients; SMD = 0.93 [95% CI 0.27, 1.59; P = 0.006; I2 = 85%]). In four of six studies, quality of life improved in the acupuncture group.
Conclusion: Acupuncture improved breathlessness severity in patients with advanced diseases. The methodological heterogeneity, low power, and potential morphine-sparing effects of acupuncture as add-on should be further addressed in future trials.
Background/objectives: Opioids relieve symptoms in terminal care. We studied opioid underuse in long-term care facilities, defined as residents without opioid prescription despite pain and/or dyspnoea, 3 days prior to death.
Design and setting: In a proportionally stratified randomly selected sample of long-term care facilities in six European Union countries, nurses and long-term care facility management completed structured after-death questionnaires within 3 months of residents’ death.
Measurements: Nurses assessed pain/dyspnoea with Comfort Assessment in Dying with Dementia scale and checked opioid prescription by chart review. We estimated opioid underuse per country and per symptom and calculated associations of opioid underuse by multilevel, multivariable analysis.
Results: nurses’ response rate was 81.6%, 95.7% for managers. Of 901 deceased residents with pain/dyspnoea reported in the last week, 10.6% had dyspnoea, 34.4% had pain and 55.0% had both symptoms. Opioid underuse per country was 19.2% (95% confidence interval: 12.9–27.2) in the Netherlands, 25.2% (18.3–33.6) in Belgium, 29.3% (16.9–45.8) in England, 33.7% (26.2–42.2) in Finland, 64.6% (52.0–75.4) in Italy and 79.1% (71.2–85.3) in Poland (p < 0.001). Opioid underuse was 57.2% (33.0–78.4) for dyspnoea, 41.2% (95% confidence interval: 21.9–63.8) for pain and 37.4% (19.4–59.6) for both symptoms (p = 0.013). Odds of opioid underuse were lower (odds ratio: 0.33; 95% confidence interval: 0.20–0.54) when pain was assessed.
Conclusion: Opioid underuse differs between countries. Pain and dyspnoea should be formally assessed at the end-of-life and taken into account in physicians orders.
Les soins palliatifs sont une approche multidisciplinaire pour améliorer la qualité de vie des patients et leurs familles à tous les stades d’une maladie grave. Cette approche est accomplie en gérant les symptômes pénibles tels que la douleur et la dyspnée. La dyspnée réfractaire se caractérise par une difficulté respiratoire persistante au repos ou avec un effort minimal malgré un traitement optimal de la maladie sous-jacente. L’utilisation d’opioïdes a été bien documentée dans ce contexte ; cependant, l’hésitation persiste lors de la prescription d’opioïdes jusqu’aux étapes terminales de la maladie. Ce travail décrit les preuves actuelles de l’utilisation des opioïdes pour le traitement de la dyspnée en soins palliatifs, les protocoles et les voies de leur administration.
BACKGROUND: Dyspnea is a common distressing symptom in patients with malignant and nonmalignant diseases. Fan therapy, which uses a fan to blow air toward the patient's face, can alleviate dyspnea; however, its efficacy remains unclear.
AIM: To examine the immediate efficacy of fan therapy for alleviation of dyspnea at rest.
DATA SOURCES: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE EBSCO, CINAHL EBSCO, and Scopus from January 1, 1987, to August 21, 2018 (PROSPERO-CRD42018108610). In addition, we hand-searched studies and used the similar articles feature on PubMed to search for articles. Randomized controlled trials comparing the effects of fan therapy with placebo or other interventions to alleviate dyspnea at rest, in which patients were aged = 18 years, were eligible for inclusion in the review. We excluded articles on long-term intervention involving fan therapy and complex intervention (including fan therapy). The risk of bias assessment was conducted using the Cochrane tool, and the meta-analysis was performed using RevMan version 5.3.
RESULTS: We identified a total of 218 studies; 2 met our criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Fan therapy significantly improved dyspnea at rest in terminally ill patients with cancer compared to control groups (mean difference: -1.31, 95% confidence interval: -1.79 to -0.83, P < .001). There were no studies that met the inclusion criteria regarding fan therapy for patients with nonmalignant disease.
CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis demonstrated that fan therapy may be an effective intervention for dyspnea at rest in patients with terminal cancer.
Context: Dyspnea is one of the most distressing symptoms for terminally ill cancer patients and a predictor of poor prognosis. Identification of simple clinical signs, such as heart rate, indicating clinical course of each patient is of value.
Objectives: To explore the potential association between heart rate and reversibility of the symptom, treatment response to palliative intervention, and survival in terminally ill cancer patients with dyspnea at rest.
Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a multicenter prospective cohort study of patients with advanced cancer to validate multiple prognostic tools. In the patients with dyspnea at rest at the baseline, we examined a potential association between heart rate and the reversibility of dyspnea and refractoriness to palliative treatment using logistic regression analysis. Survivals were compared using the Cox proportional hazards model among four groups with different levels of the heart rate (=74, 75–84, 85–97, and =98).
Results: A total of 2298 patients were enrolled, and 418 patients (18%) had dyspnea at rest. Reversibility of dyspnea was significantly higher in the patients with lower heart rate (P for trend = 0.008), and the refractoriness to palliative treatment tended to be higher in the patients with higher heart rate (P for trend = 0.101). The median survival for each heart rate quartile groups was significantly higher in the lower heart rate group (24 vs. 21 vs. 14 vs. 9 days; heart rate =74, 75–84, 85–97, and =98, respectively; log-rank P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Heart rate may help clinicians to make the prediction of the patient's clinical course more accurate.
Background: The role of oxygen therapy in end-of-life care for patients with advanced cancer is incompletely understood. We aimed to evaluate the association between oxygen use and survival in patients with advanced cancer and low oxygen saturation in home care.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study at a primary care practice in suburban Tokyo. Adult patients in home care with advanced cancer demonstrating first low oxygen saturation (less than 90%) detected in home visits were consecutively included in the study. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to investigate the effect of oxygen use on overall survival and survival at home, adjusted for systolic blood pressure, decreased level of consciousness, dyspnea, oral intake, performance status, and cardiopulmonary comorbidity.
Results: Of 433 identified patients with advanced cancer, we enrolled 137 patients (oxygen use, n = 35; no oxygen use, n = 102) who developed low oxygen saturation. In multivariable analysis, the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of oxygen use was 0.68 (95% confidence interval 0.39–1.17) for death and 0.70 (0.38–1.27) for death at home. In patients with dyspnea, the HR was 0.35 (0.13–0.89) for death and 0.33 (0.11–0.96) for death at home; without dyspnea, it was 1.03 (0.49–2.17) for death and 0.84 (0.36–1.96) for death at home.
Conclusions: Oxygen use was not significantly associated with survival in patients with advanced cancer and low oxygen saturation, after adjusting for potential confounders. It may not be necessary to use oxygen for prolongation of survival in such patients, particularly in those without dyspnea.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is common chronic respiratory disorder, predominantly caused by exposure to cigarette smoke or biomass fuels, and it usually affects older adults. Dyspnea in COPD that is unresponsive to traditional management is a challenging disease complication for both the patient and the health care professional. Off-label use of opioids has been advocated as a pharmacotherapy strategy for refractory dyspnea. However, negative respiratory outcomes are a potential concern with opioids drugs, especially among individuals with COPD. In this review, randomized controlled trials evaluating opioid efficacy among individuals with COPD are reviewed and critically analyzed, and data from observational drug safety studies is also presented. In summary, the evidence in support of using opioids for refractory dyspnea in COPD is minimal and weak, and there is mounting data demonstrating that opioids are associated with increased respiratory-related morbidity and mortality in this population. Therefore, current evidence does not support the broad application of opioids for refractory dyspnea among individuals with COPD. However, there may be subsets of individuals that experience modest improvement in dyspnea with opioids, and better understanding predictors and mechanisms of such opioid responsiveness should be a focus of future research endeavours.
OBJECTIVES: It is unclear whether patients with non-specific dyspnoea are suitable candidates for studies investigating the effectiveness of benzodiazepines against dyspnoea. The objective of this survey was to investigate suitable subjects for studies of benzodiazepines for cancer dyspnoea.
METHODS: A nationwide questionnaire survey was conducted among 536 Japanese-certified palliative care physicians. We randomly selected 268 physicians and inquired about their approach to dyspnoea management in patients with cancer, with and without anxiety, as follows: (1) Administration of a benzodiazepine. (2) Administration or titration of an opioid. We also asked them to consider their approach in the following situations: (1) Opioid-naïve. (2) Low-to-moderate baseline opioid dose. (3) High baseline opioid dose. We assessed the use of specific benzodiazepines separately.
RESULTS: Overall, 192 physicians responded to the questionnaire (71.6%). For patients without anxiety, the proportion of participants reporting that they frequently or very frequently 'administer a benzodiazepine' increased with baseline opioid dose (opioid-naïve: 5.2%, low-to-moderate: 11.5%, high: 26.0%). The proportion of participants reporting that they frequently or very frequently 'administer or titrate an opioid' decreased with baseline opioid dose (opioid-naïve: 83.3%, low-to-moderate: 73.4%, high: 41.1%). The pattern was similar for patients with anxiety, although more respondents said they prescribe benzodiazepine for these patients (naïve: 22.4%, low-to-moderate: 34.4%, high: 45.8%) and fewer prescribed an opioid. Alprazolam and lorazepam are frequently used.
CONCLUSION: Patients with anxiety or receiving a high baseline opioid dose could be potential candidates for future studies investigating the effectiveness of benzodiazepines against cancer dyspnoea.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: Palliative patients often visit the emergency department (ED) with respiratory distress during their end-of-life period. The goal of management is alleviating dyspnea and providing comfort. High-flow nasal cannula may be an alternative oxygen-delivering method for palliative patients with do-not-intubate status. We therefore aim to compare the efficacy of high-flow nasal cannula with conventional oxygen therapy in improving dyspnea of palliative patients with do-not-intubate status who have hypoxemic respiratory failure in the ED.
METHODS: This randomized, nonblinded, crossover study was conducted with 48 palliative patients aged 18 years or older with do-not-intubate status who presented with hypoxemic respiratory failure to the ED of Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand. The participants were randomly allocated to conventional oxygen therapy for 60 minutes, followed by high-flow nasal cannula for 60 minutes (n=24) or vice versa (n=24). The primary outcome was modified Borg scale score. The secondary outcomes were numeric rating scale score of dyspnea and vital signs.
RESULTS: Intention-to-treat analysis included 44 patients, 22 in each group. Baseline mean modified Borg scale score was 7.6 (SD 2.2) (conventional oxygen therapy first) and 8.2 (SD 1.8) (high-flow nasal cannula first). At 60 minutes, mean modified Borg scale score in patients receiving conventional oxygen therapy and high-flow nasal cannula was 4.9 (standard of mean 0.3) and 2.9 (standard of mean 0.3), respectively (mean difference 2.0; 95% confidence interval 1.4 to 2.6). Results for the numeric rating scale score of dyspnea were similar to those for the modified Borg scale score. Respiratory rates were lower with high-flow nasal cannula (mean difference 5.9; 95% confidence interval 3.5 to 8.3), and high-flow nasal cannula was associated with a significantly lower first-hour morphine dose.
CONCLUSION: High-flow nasal cannula was superior to conventional oxygen therapy in reducing the severity of dyspnea in the first hour of treatment in patients with do-not-intubate status and hypoxemic respiratory failure.
Purpose: Parenteral morphine is widely used for dyspnea of imminently dying cancer patients, but the outcomes to expect over time remain largely unknown. We examined outcomes after the administration of parenteral morphine infusion over 48 h in cancer patients with a poor performance status.
Methods: This was a multicenter prospective observational study. Inclusion criteria were metastatic/locally advanced cancer, ECOG performance status = 3–4, a dyspnea intensity = 2 on a Support Team Assessment Schedule, Japanese version (STAS-J), and receiving specialized palliative care. After initiating parenteral morphine infusion, we measured dyspnea STAS-J as well as Memorial Delirium Assessment Scale (MDAS), item 9, and Communication Capacity Scale (CCS), item 4, every 6 h over 48 h.
Results: We enrolled 167 patients (median survival = 4 days). The mean age was 70 years, 80 patients (48%) had lung cancer, and 109 (65%) had lung metastases. The mean STAS-J scores decreased from 3.1 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 3.0–3.2) at the baseline to 2.1 (95%CI = 1.9–2.2) at 6 h, and remained 1.6–1.8 over 12–48 h. The proportion of patients with dyspnea relief (STAS-J = 1) increased to 39% at 6 h, and ranged between 49 and 61% over 12–48 h. In contrast, up to 6.6 and 20% of patients showed hyperactive delirium (MDAS item 9 = 2) and an inability to communicate (CCS item 4 = 3), respectively, over 48 h.
Conclusions: Overall, terminal dyspnea was relatively well controlled with parenteral morphine, though a significant number of patients continued to suffer from dyspnea. Future efforts are needed to improve outcomes following standardized dyspnea treatment using patient-reported outcomes for imminently dying patients.
Background: Dyspnea is one of the most common symptoms in patients with advanced disease and terminal illness, associated with poorer quality of life. The efficacy of fan therapy to palliate dyspnea is inconsistent and unclear.
bjective: The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the efficacy of fan therapy for the relief of dyspnea in adults with advanced disease and terminal illness.
Design: The CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO were searched to retrieve all randomized controlled trials examining the benefits of fan therapy for the relief of dyspnea in patients at the advanced stages of illness. Risk of bias was assessed according to the Cochrane Collaboration standard scheme.
esults: Five studies involving 198 adults were identified. Fan therapy was associated with a significant relief of breathlessness intensity immediately after intervention (mean differences [MDs], -1.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.57 to -0.45; p < 0.001) and 10 minutes after intervention (MDs, -0.90; 95% CI, -1.53 to -0.27; p = 0.005). Long-term application of fan therapy for at least one month was not related to changes of dyspnea severity (MDs, 0.10; 95% CI, -1.14 to 1.35; p = 0.870). However, significant heterogeneity and low quality of the included trials limit applicability of the results in general practice. No difference was found in activity performance, respiratory rate and SpO2, changes in other symptom intensities, and adverse events.
onclusion: Current trials provided low-quality evidence for a significant short-term effect after fan therapy in the relief of dyspnea and no beneficial effect in the long-term application in adults with advanced disease and terminal illness.
Background: Polypharmacy is associated with dyspnea in cross-sectional studies, but associations have not been determined in longitudinal analyses. Statins are commonly prescribed but their contribution to dyspnea is unknown. We determined whether polypharmacy was associated with dyspnea trajectory over time in adults with advanced illness enrolled in a statin discontinuation trial, overall, and in models stratified by statin discontinuation.
Methods: Using data from a parallel-group unblinded pragmatic clinical trial (patients on statins =3 months with life expectancy of 1 month to 1 year, enrolled in the parent study between June 3, 2011, and May 2, 2013, n = 308/381 [81%]), we restricted analyses to patients with available baseline medication count and =1 dyspnea score. Polypharmacy was assessed by self-reported chronic medication count. Dyspnea trajectory group, our primary outcome, was determined over 24 weeks using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 73.8 years (standard deviation [SD]: ±11.0) and the mean medication count was 11.6 (SD: ±5.0). We identified 3 dyspnea trajectory groups: none (n = 108), mild (n = 130), and moderate–severe (n = 70). Statins were discontinued in 51.8%, 48.5%, and 42.9% of patients, respectively. In multivariable models adjusting for age, sex, diagnosis, and statin discontinuation, each additional medication was associated with 8% (odds ratio [OR] = 1.08 [1.01-1.14]) and 16% (OR = 1.16 [1.08-1.25]) increased risk for mild and moderate–severe dyspnea, respectively. In stratified models, polypharmacy was associated with dyspnea in the statin continuation group only (mild OR = 1.12 [1.01-1.24], moderate–severe OR = 1.24 [1.11-1.39]) versus statin discontinuation (mild OR = 1.03 [0.95-1.12], and moderate–severe OR = 1.09 [0.98-1.22]).
Conclusion: Polypharmacy was strongly associated with dyspnea. Prospective interventions to decrease polypharmacy may impact dyspnea symptoms, especially for statins.