Besides dyspnoea and cough, patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) or sarcoidosis may experience distressing non-respiratory symptoms, such as fatigue or muscle weakness. However, whether and to what extent symptom burden differs between patients with IPF or sarcoidosis and individuals without respiratory disease remains currently unknown.
To study the respiratory and non-respiratory burden of multiple symptoms in patients with IPF or sarcoidosis and to compare the symptom burden with individuals without impaired spirometric values, FVC and FEV1 (controls).
Demographics and symptoms were assessed in 59 patients with IPF, 60 patients with sarcoidosis and 118 controls (age ≥18 years). Patients with either condition were matched to controls by sex and age. Severity of 14 symptoms was assessed using a Visual Analogue Scale.
44 patients with IPF (77.3% male; age 70.6±5.5 years) and 44 matched controls, and 45 patients with sarcoidosis (48.9% male; age 58.1±8.6 year) and 45 matched controls were analyzed. Patients with IPF scored higher on 11 symptoms compared to controls (p<0.05), with the largest differences for dyspnoea, cough, fatigue, muscle weakness and insomnia. Patients with sarcoidosis scored higher on all 14 symptoms (p<0.05), with the largest differences for dyspnoea, fatigue, cough, muscle weakness, insomnia, pain, itch, thirst, micturition (night, day).
Generally, respiratory and non-respiratory symptom burden is significantly higher in patients with IPF or sarcoidosis compared to controls. This emphasizes the importance of awareness for respiratory and non-respiratory symptom burden in IPF or sarcoidosis and the need for additional research to study the underlying mechanisms and subsequent interventions.