Dysfunctional breathing is more frequent in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than in asthma and in health

Natalie Law, Laurence E. Ruane, Kathy Low, Kais Hamza, Philip G. Bardin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Involuntary adaptations of breathing patterns to counter breathlessness may lead to dysfunctional breathing in obstructive lung diseases. However, no studies examining dysfunctional breathing in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have been reported. Patients with verified COPD (n = 34), asthma (n = 37) and a healthy control group (n = 41) were recruited. All participants completed the Nijmegen questionnaire for dysfunctional breathing as well as measures of disease activity. Comparisons between groups employed analysis of variance with post-hoc Bonferroni analyses and Pearson correlation for associations. Patients with COPD had significantly higher Nijmegen questionnaire scores than asthmatics (COPD: 23.4 ± 10.6 versus 17.3 ± 10.6, p = 0.016) and healthy individuals (14.3 ± 9.6, p = 0.002). Significantly more patients with COPD had severe dysfunctional breathing with Nijmegen scores >23 (47%; 16/34) compared to asthma (27%; 10/37) and healthy controls (17%; 7/41) respectively (p = 0.019). Dysfunctional breathing was detected in ∼50% of patients with COPD, more so than in asthma or health. Strategies to reduce abnormal breathing behaviours may have important benefits for treatment of breathlessness in COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-23
Number of pages4
JournalRespiratory Physiology & Neurobiology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Asthma
  • CAT score
  • COPD
  • Dysfunctional breathing
  • Nijmegen score

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