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Home > Research > Research Projects List > Breathlessness Intervention Service

Breathlessness Intervention Service



Phase III pragmatic fast-track single-blinded randomised controlled trial of the Breathlessness Intervention Service (BIS) for intractable breathlessness

Background: The Breathlessness Intervention Service (BIS) is a pharmacological and non-pharmacological intervention for patients with intractable breathlessness (regardless of their diagnosis) and their carers.

The Pre-Clinical phase consisted of a qualitative study of patients with breathlessness who had a diagnosis of lung cancer or COPD; Phase I was a qualitative study of the first users of the pilot BIS, and Phase II a pilot randomised controlled trial of BIS for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Phase III commenced summer 2008 and comprises a definitive trial of BIS for patients with any diagnosis: malignant or non-malignant

Principal Research Question: 1) Is BIS more effective than standard care for patients with intractable breathlessness from advanced malignant or non-malignant disease?
2) Does it reduce patient and carer distress due to breathlessness, and increase patients’ sense of mastery of the symptom?
3) What are the experiences and views of those who use BIS, their informal carers and the clinicians who refer to it?
4) Is BIS cost-effective?
Primary outcome measure: Numerical Rating Scale for Distress Due to Breathlessness.
UKISRCTN: 04119516
Project organisation
Start date: 1st May 2008
End date: 30th April 2011
Contact person: Dr Morag Farquhar
General Practice & Primary Care Research Unit
Institute of Public Health
University Forvie Site, Robinson Way
Telephone: 01223 769294
Fax: 01223 762515
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Dr Sara Booth, Professor Irene Higginson, Dr Toby Prevost, Dr Paul McCrone

Funding information
Funding Organisation: NIHR Research for Patient Benefit
Funding Reference: PB-PG-0107-11134
Funding Amount: £249,596

References / Publications

Pre-Clinical phase:

Booth S, Silvester S, Todd C (2003). Breathlessness in cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: using a qualitative approach to describe the experience of patients and carers. Palliative and Supportive Care 1 (4):337-344.

Phase I:

Booth S, Farquhar M, Gysels M, Bausewein C, Higginson IJ (2006) The impact of a breathlessness intervention service (BIS) on the lives of patients with intractable dyspnoea: a qualitative Phase I study. Journal of Palliative and Supportive Care 4: 287-293.


Phase II:

Farquhar M, Higginson IJ, Fagan P, Booth S. The feasibility of a single-blinded fast-track pragmatic randomised controlled trial of a complex intervention for breathlessness in advanced disease. BMC Palliative Care 2009; 8:9.

Farquhar M, Higginson IJ, Booth S (2009). Fast-Track Trials in Palliative Care: An Alternative Randomized Controlled Trial Design. Journal of Palliative Medicine 12 (3): 213

Farquhar MC, Higginson IJ, Fagan P, Booth S. Results of a pilot investigation into a complex intervention for breathlessness in advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): brief report. Palliative and Supportive Care 2009; 8 (2) (in press).

Farquhar M, Ewing G, Higginson IJ, Booth S. The experience of using the SEIQoL-DW with patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): issues of process and outcome. Quality of Life Research 2010 (in press).

Last Updated on Friday, 09 April 2010 10:48