Effect of a pulmonary nodule fact sheet on patient anxiety and knowledge: A quality improvement initiative

Matthew T. Koroscil*, Mitchell H. Bowman, Michael J. Morris, Andrew J. Skabelund, Andrew M. Hersh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction The utilisation of chest CT for the evaluation of pulmonary disorders, including low-dose CT for lung cancer screening, is increasing in the USA. As a result, the discovery of both screening-detected and incidental pulmonary nodules has become more frequent. Despite an overall low risk of malignancy, pulmonary nodules are a common cause of emotional distress among adult patients. Methods We conducted a multi-institutional quality improvement (QI) initiative involving 101 participants to determine the effect of a pulmonary nodule fact sheet on patient knowledge and anxiety. Males and females aged 35 years or older, who had a history of either screening-detected or incidental solid pulmonary nodule(s) sized 3–8 mm, were included. Prior to an internal medicine or pulmonary medicine clinic visit, participants were given a packet containing a pre-fact sheet survey, a pulmonary nodule fact sheet and a post-fact sheet survey. Results Of 101 patients, 61 (60.4%) worried about their pulmonary nodule at least once per month with 18 (17.8%) worrying daily. The majority 67/101 (66.3%) selected chemotherapy, chemotherapy and radiation, or radiation as the best method to cure early-stage lung cancer. Despite ongoing radiographic surveillance, 16/101 (15.8%) stated they would not be interested in an intervention if lung cancer was diagnosed. Following review of the pulmonary nodule fact sheet, 84/101 (83.2%) reported improved anxiety and 96/101 (95.0%) reported an improved understanding of their health situation. Patient understanding significantly improved from 4.2/10.0 to 8.1/10.0 (p<0.01). Conclusion The incorporation of a standardised fact sheet for subcentimeter solid pulmonary nodules improves patient understanding and alleviates anxiety. We plan to implement pulmonary nodule fact sheets into the care of our patients with low-risk subcentimeter pulmonary nodules.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000437
JournalBMJ Open Quality
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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