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Patient indicators of a pulmonary exacerbation: preliminary reports from school aged children map onto those of adults

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  • J. Abbott
  • A. Holt
  • A M Morton
  • Anna Hart
  • G Milne
  • S E Wolfe
  • S Conway
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Cystic Fibrosis
Issue number3
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)180-186
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


Despite the importance of identifying and managing a pulmonary exacerbation, and its use as an outcome measure in interventions, there is no standardised definition in cystic fibrosis. In achieving standardised criteria it is important to identify patient-reported indicators.

Interviews were undertaken with 35 school aged children. They reported symptoms experienced during a pulmonary exacerbation in two ways: the first symptoms they become aware of, and how they recognised when they were improving. Interviews were taped, transcribed verbatim and the data analysed thematically.

For many children, the onset of an exacerbation was characterised by ‘cold’ symptoms, tiredness, and changes in cough. For those with moderate or severe disease, sleep disruption, activity induced breathlessness, changes in mood, sputum volume and lack of appetite were common. When describing improvement children focused initially on activities they were now able to perform accompanied by improvements in tiredness and cough. Those with moderate or severe disease also reported improvements in sleep and mood, breathlessness, sputum volume and colour.