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Simon, S. T.; Altfelder, N.; Alt-Epping, B.; Bausewein, C.; Weingärtner, V.; Voltz, R.; Ostgathe, C.; Radbruch, L.; Lindena, G.; Nauck, F. (2017): Charakteristika von Palliativpatienten mit Atemnot. Ergebnisse der deutschlandweiten Hospiz- und Palliativerhebung. In: Pneumologie, Vol. 71, No. 1: pp. 40-47
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Background Breathlessness is a common and distressing symptom in patients with advanced life-limiting disease. The aim of this study was to describe demographical and clinical characteristics of patients with breathlessness in Germany. Methods We conducted a secondary analysis of hospice and palliative care inpatient data from 2006 to 2008. The Hospice and Palliative Care Evaluation (HOPE) is an annual prospective German survey, that includes a validated 16-item symptom-and-problem checklist (severity score 0 - 3). Characteristics of patients with or without breathlessness were compared in a pure descriptive manner. Interpretation of given p-values takes the error inflation due to multiple testing into account. Results Breathlessness was recorded in 2860/5320 (53.8%) patients (mean age 67.2 years (SD 12.4), 51.4% female, 93.6% malignant disease (female/male lung cancer 15.7/29.5%, breast cancer 20.3/0.3 %, colon 10.3/8.7%). Breathless patients compared with those without breathless ness had a significantly worse functional status (ECOG 3 - 4: 78.4% vs. 70.8 %, p < 0.001), suffered from a larger number (11.1 vs. 9.5, p < 0.001) of symptoms and the symptoms were of higher intensity (except confusion). Breathless patients had a higher risk to die during inpatient stay (43.5% vs. 32.4 %, p < 0.001). Conclusion Based on this large sample of hospice and palliative care inpatients, breathlessness is associated with a high symptom burden and shortened survival. Breathless patients need more attention in health care.