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 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050578
  • Journal Name: BMJ OPEN
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: thoracic medicine, respiratory medicine (see thoracic medicine), adult thoracic medicine, interstitial lung disease, DEPRESSION
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


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.