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PRIMARYBREATHE: tackling chronic breathlessness


Professor Joanne Reeve

Professor Joanne Reeve

Professor of Primary Care Research

Miriam Johnson

Professor Miriam Johnson

Professor of Palliative Medicine

Mark Pearson

Dr Mark Pearson

Reader in Implementation Science


September 2022 to September 2027


Why this research is needed

Breathlessness affects one in ten people, and a quarter of adults aged over 70. It is a symptom that is common in many different diseases and illnesses, but particularly in people living with chronic lung or heart disease. Chronic breathlessness can have a devastating disabling effect on people’s efforts to live their daily lives. It is a highly distressing symptom that can commonly lead to crisis calls for help. Breathlessness contributes to one in five emergency department attendances by ambulance.

Clinicians usually help people with breathlessness by focusing on the disease that is causing the problem. Which is a vital first step, but often insufficient to help the person regain control of their daily living. Rehabilitation programmes focused on breathing have been shown to help but they can be difficult to access.

More recently we have seen specialist breathlessness services develop within palliative care. These evidence-based services offer a range of help for people with advanced disease, particularly cancer. But capacity is very limited.

So we need to find alternative ways to help people living with chronic breathlessness to get help this disabling problem. The PrimaryBreathe study aims to do just that by building, implementing and so testing a novel primary care based intervention that can help deal with chronic breathlessness.

PrimaryBreathe: a programme to develop and test a brief remote primary care intervention for chronic breathlessness

The joint Primary Investigators are Dr Anna Spathis, University of Cambridge, and Professor Jonathan Mant, University of Cambridge.

What we are doing

Primary Breathe is working with patients, clinicians and researchers to co-create a new primary care intervention for this disabling problems

The development phase draws on research completed by the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre at Hull York Medical School.

Development work is led by a general practice team in Cambridge supported by palliative care and implementation science experts here in Hull York Medical School.

The Academy of Primary Care will support the work once it is ready to start pilot research within GP practices.

Contact us

We welcome enquiries about our research, or if you are interested in collaborating, visiting or postgraduate research opportunities with us.

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