Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the follow-up and treatment of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a cross-sectional, multicentre phone call survey

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Coskun F. , Hanta I., Cilli A., Ozkaya G. , Ursavas A., Sevinc C.

BMJ OPEN, vol.11, no.8, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050578
  • Title of Journal : BMJ OPEN
  • Keywords: thoracic medicine, respiratory medicine (see thoracic medicine), adult thoracic medicine, interstitial lung disease, DEPRESSION


Objective To learn about the attitudes and behaviours of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in relation to the difficulties experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design A cross-sectional, multicentre phone call survey. Setting Four university hospitals in Turkey. Participants The study included patients with IPF receiving antifibrotics for at least 3 months and with doctor appointment and/or scheduled routine blood analysis between March and May 2020 (the first 3 months after the official announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey). Interventions Phone calls (a 5 min interview) were performed in June 2020. A questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety-Depression Scale were applied. Main outcome measures Patients' preferences for disease monitoring, patients' attitudes and behaviours towards IPF, drug continuation, COVID-19 diagnosis and anxiety/depression status. Results The study included 115 patients with IPF (82 male; mean age, 68.43 +/- 7.44 years). Of the patients, 73.9% had doctor appointment and 52.2% had scheduled routine blood testing; 54.5% of patients with doctor appointment self-cancelled their appointments and 53.3% of patients with scheduled routine blood testing did not undergo testing. Of the patients, 32.2% were on nintedanib and 67.8% were on pirfenidone; self-initiated drug discontinuation rate was 22.6%. The percentage of patients communicating with their physicians was 35.7%. The route of communication was by phone (34.8%). The frequency of depression and anxiety was 27.0% and 38.3%, respectively. The rates of drug discontinuation (35.1% vs 16.7%, p<0.05) and depression (37.8% vs 21.8%, p=0.07) were higher in nintedanib users than in pirfenidone users. Only two (1.7%) patients had COVID-19 diagnosis. Conclusions During the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant proportion (>50%) of patients self-cancelled their appointments and nearly a quarter of patients discontinued their medications. Providing a documentation of the problems experienced by patients with IPF about management of the necessary requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, this study may be a model for patients with chronic diseases.