A Tool to Assess Health in Connective Tissue Disease-Associated Interstitial Lung Disease

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Researchers reviewed COPD Assessment Test results in a Japanese cohort to determine the test's reliability and validity in patients with connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Assessment Test (CAT) scores in patients with connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease (CTD-ILD) was significantly associated with clinically meaningful measures, according to the results of a recent study published in Respiratory Medicine.

Pulmonary function tests were administered to consecutive patients with CTD-ILD evaluated at Tosei General Hospital in Seto, Aichi, Japan, to measure forced vital capacity (FVC) and diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO). The CAT was also given, and associations between CAT scores and lung function were assessed.

Among the 133 patients with CTD-ILD, 132 completed the CAT questionnaire and were included in the analysis. In general, the mean CAT score was greater for patients with lower FVC, DLCO, and 6 minute walk distance. There were moderately strong correlations between 6- and 12-month change in CAT score and 6- and 12-month change in FVC, DLCO, and 6-minute walk distance. Furthermore, these results were determined to be not only statistically significant but also clinically meaningful.

The study authors wrote, “The CAT consists of eight items covering the major symptoms and limitations of chronic respiratory diseases: cough, phlegm, chest tightness, breathlessness, activities, confidence, sleep, and energy.”

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They added, “These results and CAT’s concise format suggest that CAT could be a useful tool to help clinicians, physiotherapists, and other healthcare professionals more fully understand CTD-ILD patients’ disease status at the time of clinical evaluation.”


Suzuki A, Kondoh Y, Swigris JJ, et al. Performance of the COPD Assessment Test in patients with connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease. Respir Med. 2019;150:15-20.