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Quality of life of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patients.

Little attention has been paid to quality of life (QOL) in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Therefore, the aim of this study was to address this issue and study the relationship between QOL, depressive symptoms, and breathlessness in these patients. Forty-one IPF patients and 41 healthy persons matched for age and sex completed the World Health Organization Quality of Life assessment instrument-100. The IPF patients also completed the Beck Depression Inventory, the Bath Breathlessness Scale, a social support questionnaire and a question concerning perceived seriousness of illness. Compared to the control group, QOL in IPF patients was mainly impaired in the domains "physical health" and "level of independence". A number of relationships were found between pulmonary function tests and QOL. The QOL facet "negative feelings" was highly associated with scores on depression. Subjective breathlessness was related to depressive symptoms and QOL. Moreover, sex and effective/emotional breathlessness predicted overall QOL. In conclusion, the impairment of the quality of life areas "physical health" and "level of independence" are important issues in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Subjective breathlessness, especially the effective/emotional scale, seems related to quality of life and depressive symptoms. Rehabilitation programmes are needed that are aimed at physiological aspects and psychosocial aspects of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in order to enhance the quality of life of these patients.

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