Breathing SPACE-a practical approach to the breathless patient.



Breathlessness is a common symptom that may have multiple causes in any one individual and causes that may change over time. Breathlessness campaigns encourage people to see their General Practitioner if they are unduly breathless. Members of the London Respiratory Network collaborated to develop a tool that would encourage a holistic approach to breathlessness, which was applicable both at the time of diagnosis and during ongoing management. This has led to the development of the aide memoire "Breathing SPACE", which encompasses five key themes-smoking, pulmonary disease, anxiety/psychosocial factors, cardiac disease, and exercise/fitness. A particular concern was to ensure that high-value interventions (smoking cessation and exercise interventions) are prioritised across the life-course and throughout the course of disease management. The approach is relevant both to well people and in those with an underling diagnosis or diagnoses. The inclusion of anxiety draws attention to the importance of mental health issues. Parity of esteem requires the physical health problems of people with mental illness to be addressed. The SPACE mnemonic also addresses the problem of underdiagnosis of heart disease in people with lung disease and vice versa, as well as the systematic undertreatment of these conditions where they do co-occur.

Resource information

Respiratory conditions
  • COPD
Respiratory topics
  • Disease management
Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Hopkinson NS, Baxter N, London Respiratory Network.