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Background: For patients with limited physical activities who use oral communication for most social activities, the assessment of dyspnea during speech activities (DS) may provide relevant measurement criteria. Although speech production is altered by lung disease it has not been included in current dyspnea assessment tools. Objectives: We evaluated DS in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with the aim of assessing: (i) the responsiveness to treatment of this newly developed evaluative dyspnea tool and (ii) whether DS is an independent measurement of other traditional outcomes. Methods: We assessed lung function, the 6-min walking test (6'WT), chronic exertional dyspnea (MRC and BDI/TDI), and DS using the speech section of the University of Cincinnati Dyspnea Questionnaire (UCDQ) before and after a pulmonary rehabilitation program in 31 patients with COPD. Results: The following items of the speech section of the UCDQ caused dyspnea: conversation, raising the voice, phoning, speaking to a group, talking in a noisy place, and singing. The mean overall DS score was 60 ± 23% of a maximal potential DS score. Pulmonary rehabilitation reduced each item of DS independently of change in lung function, chronic exertional dyspnea, and 6'WT. Conclusions: We concluded that DS is responsive to a respiratory rehabilitation program in patients with COPD. Evidence of independent objective measures supports the validity of a routine multivariable assessment including DS. We recommend assessment of DS particularly for patients who rely extensively on speech for communication.
Department of Respiratory Rehabilitation, Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS (IRCCS), Firenze, Italia.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Respiration; international review of thoracic diseases
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