Breathing new life into a vital area of healthcare

Shortness of breath, or breathing difficulty, is the a common reason for visiting a hospital A & E department. The common causes of breathlessness include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or heart failure and under this theme we are working to improve the assessment and care of patients experiencing breathlessness.

The problem in NW London is significant as these statistics from 2010-11 demonstrate:
  • Of 2,874 patients admitted with COPD, 56% were readmitted within 90 days
  • Of 1,984 patients admitted for heart failure, 60% were readmitted within 90 days.

Both of these conditions have high mortality rates.
Around 20% of patients with COPD also have Heart Failure and vice versa.*

Under this theme we are delivering three key projects:
  • Acute care Heart Failure (HF) bundle. Following the bundle model we used in hospital for patients with COPD, we are developing a package of interventions for heart failure, including assessment and referral for rehabilitation. 
  • Common rehabilitation service for COPD and HF. Working closely with stakeholders and service users we will be examining the current provision and distribution of pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation services to explore ways of developing an holistic, all cause breathlessness service. 
  • Primary care COPD bundle – adapting the North West London acute hospital COPD bundle for use in a GP setting. Working closely with clinicians and patients we aim to develop the initial model and customise it to the GP setting and then roll it out across the GP community of North West London.

*Eur J Heartfail 2009; 11:130-139