Prevalence of dysfunctional breathing in patients treated for asthma in primary care: cross sectional survey

Robert McKinley, Michael David Thomas, E. Freeman, C. Foy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives To estimate the prevalence of dysfunctional breathing in adults with asthma treated in the community.

Design Postal questionnaire survey using Nijmegen questionnaire.

Setting One general practice with 7033 patients,

Participants All adult patients aged 17-65 with diagnosed asthma who were receiving treatment.

Main outcome measure Score greater than or equal to 23 on Nijmegen questionnaire.

Results 227/307 patients returned completed questionnaires; 219 (71.3%) questionnaires were suitable for analysis, 63 participants scored greater than or equal to 23. Those scoring greater than or equal to 23 were more likely to be female than male (46/132 (35%) v 17/87 (20%), P=0.016) and were younger (mean (SD) age 44.8 (14.7) v 49.0 (13.8, (P=0.05). Patients at different treatment steps of the British Thoracic Society asthma guidelines were affected equally.

Conclusions About a third of women and a fifth of men had scores suggestive of dysfunctional breathing. Although further studies are needed to confirm the validity of this screening tool and these findings, these prevalences suggest scope for therapeutic intervention and may explain the anecdotal success of the Buteyko method of nearing asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1100
Number of pages2
JournalBritish Medical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2001



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