A Comprehensive Literature Review of COPD-Related Fatigue
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic disease and major cause of disability. COPD may
be considered a systemic disease, which causes an array of symptoms, one of which is the subjective sensation of fatigue.
In recent years, COPD-related fatigue (COPD-RF) has increasingly been recognised as an important area of research. The
aim of this paper is to comprehensively review the literature concerning this topic and to summarise existing knowledge
on the subjective perception of fatigue in people with COPD. This paper provides a narrative review of literature in this
area. The search used the electronic databases of OVID MEDLINE and EMBASE included original studies from 1980 to
December 2011. The databases were searched using the key MeSH terms COPD and Fatigue.
In total 40 relevant publications were identified. This literature review covers the following areas identified by research
studies: fatigue in COPD in comparison with healthy older people, gender differences, patients’ experience of fatigue,
prevalence of fatigue reporting in COPD, pattern and frequency of fatigue in COPD, the impact of fatigue on an
individual’s life, predictors of fatigue, coping and treatment strategies for the management of fatigue. Furthermore, this
review identifies areas for further research and makes recommendations for clinical practice.
Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), disease management, fatigue, prevalence, symptoms.
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