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Managing breathlessness: a palliative care approach
  1. Chloe Chin,
  2. Sara Booth
  1. Department of Palliative Medicine, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Chloe Chin, Department of Palliative Medicine, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Addenbrookes Hospital, Box 63, Elsworth House, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK; chloe.chin{at}


Breathlessness is an important and common symptom globally, affecting patients with a variety of malignant and non-malignant diseases. It causes considerable suffering to patients and also their families, and is a significant cost to healthcare systems. Optimal management of the symptom should therefore be of interest and importance to a wide range of clinicians. Best practice in the management of breathlessness consists of both non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions as evidenced by recent randomised controlled trials of multidisciplinary breathlessness support services. As well as providing evidence for integration of early palliative care into respiratory services, these revealed that patient distress due to breathlessness can be significantly reduced and better outcomes can be achieved at lower cost than standard care.

  • Dyspnoea
  • Breathlessness
  • Pharmacological
  • Non-pharmacological
  • Complex intervention

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