Patient knowledge on COPD


Disease-related knowledge can contribute to improve the self-management of people affected by COPD, increase their coping skills, modify health behaviors, reduce utilization of healthcare services1, and improve health related outcomes2. Therefore, testing the patient knowledge of the disease is a starting point for planning self-care education programs. The use of validated questionnaires assessing knowledge before and after educational interventions can help to identify learners’ educational needs, measure the modification of knowledge, and evaluate learning outcomes3. The Bristol COPD Knowledge Questionnaire (BCKQ)4 was developed to assess the knowledge of 13 specific topics: epidemiology, etiology, symptoms, breathlessness, phlegm, chest infections, exercise, smoking, vaccination, bronchodilators, antibiotics, oral and inhaled steroids. Each topic is composed of five statements, indicated with letters from a to e, which account for a total of 65 statements. The possible response choices are “true”, “false”, or “I don’t know”. The percentages of correct answers for the total scale and for each area can be calculated.



To assess disease knowledge in a sample of Italian patients with COPD, and to determine what factors influence their knowledge level.


We conducted a descriptive-correlational design and used the BCKQ to measure knowledge of COPD patients. BCKQ was translated in Italian using the forward/backward translation method. The content validity was assessed by a team of healthcare professionals (S-CVI=0.80). The internal consistency measured through KR-20 was 0.87. A convenience sample was recruited in a pneumology clinic and medical/surgical unit of a University Hospital in Italy from October 2016 to January 2017


A total of 111 COPD inpatients and outpatients participated to the study. The overall percentage of correct answers was 48% with very different percentages in the investigated topics . The knowledge topics related to medications, such as inhaled steroids, inhaled bronchodilators, oral steroids, and antibiotics showed the lowest level of knowledge .The BCKQ total score was not related to patient education, age and severity or duration of disease. Only a few topics presented significant correlations with these variables 


The knowledge of COPD in the Italian patients sample is quite limited especially on topics concerning medication and chest infections. Factors that limit or promote the acquisition of knowledge in people with COPD should be further investigated.


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