BLISS on the bus

01 February 2013

Researchers have launched major new study into a chronically disabling lung condition using of the innovative Health Research Bus.

The BLISS study is looking at patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, to assess the current system of diagnosing the condition.

COPD is a collective term for a number of similar conditions which cause a narrowing of their airways, which is called airflow obstruction. The BLISS study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and is run jointly by the Trust and the University of Birmingham.

The first patients recruited at this site were attending appointments which were held in the Health Research Bus parked outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB). The bus has been designed to provide a world class clinical research facility which can be transported to where it is most needed. The bus will now begin travelling to GP surgeries as researchers continue to recruit patients.

The BLISS study consists of two cohorts of recruits, with this first group planned to include 7,000 patients from across the West Midlands. It will investigate the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of diagnosing patients with COPD. Patients who already have symptoms of the disease will be asked to fill out questionnaires and undergo lung function tests.

The second cohort will be made up of 2,000 patients who will be followed up for three years to check on their progress. All patients will be recruited from 56 general practices across the region and via NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at the QEHB.

They will attend appointments on the Health Research Bus or at a clinic, and all will take part in a range of physiological tests and questionnaire-based measures, including spirometry, BMI, age, sex, ethnicity, medical history, quality of life, exercise capacity, muscle strength, medications, respiratory symptoms, physical activity levels and occupation.