blood pressure, COPD, dyspnea, spirometry



  1. Jenkins, Patricia C. PhD, MBA, RN


Background and Research Objective: Although dyspnea is a frequently encountered clinical symptom, precise clinical evaluation of this sensation remains illusive. Dyspnea has been difficult to evaluate empirically, as severity of mechanical pulmonary impairment does not appear to correlate with subjectively reported levels of dyspnea. The purpose of this study was to describe changes in dyspnea and blood pressure with the use of an incentive spirometry and to examine the relationship of such changes in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Subjects and Methods: A convenience sample of 60 adults diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was recruited from ambulatory outpatient clinics at a large Veterans hospital. A quantitative single-group, within-subjects repeated-measure design was used to investigate the relationship between the variables following incentive spirometry. Dyspnea levels were recorded with the visual analog scale and arterial blood pressures (beat-to-beat systolic, mean, and diastolic) were continuously recorded with tonometry.


Results and Conclusions: The first 4 periods following use of the incentive spirometer were found to have statistically significant increases from dyspnea baseline scores (F = 77.4, P < .001). The baseline of each of the arterial blood pressure measurements, systolic, mean, and diastolic, were found to have significant differences with all of the 6 postintervention time points (systolic F = 8.0, P < .001; mean F = 7.1, P < .001; diastolic F = 7.2, P < .001). The changes in dyspnea scores and blood pressure measurements were found to have significant inverse correlations at the immediate postintervention time point (r = -0.32 to -0.35, P < .01). Results provide evidence of an inverse relationship between dyspnea and blood pressure patterns and may indicate significant clinical associations to add to the body of knowledge about the symptom of dyspnea.