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Commentary |

Patient-Reported Outcomes in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis ResearchPatient-Reported Outcomes

Jeffrey J. Swigris, DO; Diane Fairclough, DrPH
Author and Funding Information

From the Autoimmune Lung Center and Interstitial Lung Disease Program (Dr Swigris), National Jewish Health; and the Department of Biostatistics and Informatics (Dr Fairclough), Colorado Health Outcomes Program, University of Colorado Denver, Anshutz Medical Center, Denver, CO.

Correspondence to: Jeffrey J. Swigris, DO, Autoimmune Lung Center and Interstitial Lung Disease Program, National Jewish Health, 1400 Jackson St, Denver, CO 80206; e-mail: swigrisj@njc.org


Funding/Support: Dr Swigris is supported in part by a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health [Grant K23 HL092227].

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2012;142(2):291-297. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2602
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Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) include questionnaires or surveys that ask patients for their perceptions about things like symptoms they are experiencing or quality of life. For incurable, morbid, life-shortening conditions like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), PROs are particularly germane: They elucidate for clinicians and researchers what it is like for patients to live with such a disease, and they may detect important treatment effects not captured by other metrics (eg, pulmonary physiology). However, a relative paucity of research on PROs in IPF has left significant knowledge gaps in this area and contributed to the timidity investigators have about using PROs as prominent outcomes in IPF drug trials. Additional research on existing instruments is needed to establish or bolster their basic psychometric properties in IPF. When PROs are used as end points in therapeutic trials, analyzing PRO response data can be challenging, but these challenges can be overcome with a transparent, thoughtful, and sophisticated statistical approach. In this article, we discuss some of the basics of PRO assessment, existing knowledge gaps in IPF-related PRO research, and the potential usefulness of using PROs in IPF trials and conclude by offering specific recommendations for an approach to analyzing repeated-measures PRO data from IPF trials.

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