Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: Working on Anxiety and
A study looking at a stress
reduction programme in patients with Pulmonary Arterial
The PATHWAYS project is funded by the National Institute
for Health Research (NIHR) under its Research for
Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme.
What is the purpose of the study?
This study is looking at whether patients with Pulmonary
Arterial Hypertension (PAH) might benefit from taking part in a
stress reduction course.
Who can take part?
Participants need to be over the age of 16, have a
diagnosis of PAH and live in the South West of England. There will
be a total of 42 adults with PAH taking part in the study. We will
be sending out information to patients, which will be discussed at
clinic appointments at the Bristol Heart Institute with Dr Robert
Tulloh (consultant cardiologist).
What will participation involve?
Participants will be asked to fill in some questionnaires
about quality of life and how PAH makes them feel. We will also
take standard physical measures in the clinic. We also want to see
if there is any change in the stress hormone, cortisol, so it is
optional to take saliva samples at home. Collecting saliva is very
easy and very safe and does not take more than a few minutes. These
measures will be taken at baseline, and at three follow-up time
Patients will be randomly allocated to continue treatment
as usual or to attend a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
programme for two hours a week for eight weeks at a local
venue. There is a 50/50 chance of being randomised to
the MBSR programme.
What is a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
The programme being offered has been specifically
developed for patients with PAH. The intervention will involve
learning about stress and anxiety, the effect that they can have on
the body, and some techniques to manage them. It is based on
something called mindfulness, which uses a variety of ways to help
participants become more aware of their thoughts, emotions, and
body sensations at the moment, and to identify the choices that are
available. The programme will also help participants to learn about
stress and the effect that it can have on their body so that they
can identify times when they are feeling stressed before it
overwhelms them. Although eight weeks may seem like a long
time to run a course, the skills that it teaches should stay with
participants and help them for the rest of their life. For the
programme, participants will be in a small group of
about eight people and the group will be led by qualified
clinical psychologist, Dr Vanessa Garratt.
All research in the NHS is looked at by independent group
of people, called a Research Ethics Committee, to protect
participant interests. This study has been reviewed and given
favourable opinion by NRES Committee South West - Central