Improving the diagnosis of breathlessness in primary care: development and implementation of the “Breathlessness diagnostics in a Box” (BiaB).

15 May 2023
Research Question: 1. What is the impact of using the BiaB tool in primary care on the number of new diagnoses of COPD and/or heart failure and on the time from first presentation to diagnosis? (quantitative) 2. What are the perceptions/experiences of healthcare providers and patients with using BiaB in primary care practice? (qualitative) Background: Breathlessness is a common reason for consulting a general practitioner and can have different causes including pulmonary, cardiovascular, and psychological factors. There is a lack of easy-to-perform tests in primary care to diagnose the cause of breathlessness. In this pilot study, we design and test BiaB, an easy and quick tool which aims to offer reliable support to general practitioners in diagnosing the cause of breathlessness. Possible methodology: Healthcare professionals and clinical experts in the fields of pulmonology, cardiology and general practice co-designed the tool. The current version of the box (Figure 1) includes an oscillometer; a 4-patch, 12-lead ECG; a point-of-care NT-proBNP test, a pulse oximetry meter and a tablet with an app that integrates all measurements into a recommended working diagnosis. A pilot implementation study will be performed in six primary care practices, over a six-month period. The proposed tool will be adapted and optimised through regular meetings and interviews with healthcare professionals and patients from participating practices in an iterative manner. Study population: patients with breathlessness of unknown cause or at risk of HF or COPD. Study outcomes: (new) working diagnoses, number of referrals and confirmed diagnoses, time between consultation, diagnosis and therapy initiation and number of new diagnoses of COPD, HF and their overlap. Sponsor grant: study supported by AstraZeneca. Questions to discuss: -Methodology; additional tools needed for the box? -Data collection; other necessary variables to collect? -Study population; potential patient groups to include in study?

Resource information

Respiratory conditions
  • Chronic Breathlessness
  • COPD
Respiratory topics
  • Diagnosis
Type of resource
Munich 2023
Chantal Arling1, Thomas le Rütte1, Marjan Kerkhof1, Merijn Driessen-Roelfszema1, Yoran Gerritsma1, Chris Gale2,3, Ana Cebrián-Cuenca4,5, Fiona Mosgrove6, Rudolf de Boer7, Richard Russell8, Bernardino Alcázar-Navarrete9, Huib Kerstjens10,12, Janwillem Kocks1,10,11,12 1General Practitioners Research Institute (GPRI), Groningen, The Netherlands, 2Department of Cardiology, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, United Kingdom, 3Leeds Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom, 4Primary Health Care Center Cartagena Casco, Cartagena, Spain, 5Biomedical Research Institute of Murcia (IMIB), Murcia, Spain, 6Newburn Health Centre, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, 7Department of Cardiology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 8Peter Gorer Department of Immunobiology, Kings College, London, United Kingdom, 9Pulmonology Department, Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, Spain, 10Department of Pulmonology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, 11Observational and Pragmatic Research Institute (OPRI), Singapore, Singapore, 12Groningen Research Institute Asthma and COPD (GRIAC), University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands