Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a worldwide leading cause of morbidity and mortality and associated with great individual, societal and economic burden [1]. Dyspnoea is the threatening cardinal symptom and related to a worse course of COPD, including drastic reductions in quality of life and even increased mortality risk [2, 3]. Dyspnoea is a multi-dimensional subjective experience that encompasses not only the perception of sensory signals (dyspnoea intensity), but also important immediate and long-term affective aspects (dyspnoea unpleasantness, dyspnoea anxiety, suffering) [2–4]. In many patients, dyspnoea can be persistent, despite optimal treatment efforts, which was recently termed “chronic breathlessness syndrome” [5]. Notwithstanding, reducing dyspnoea is a major treatment goal in COPD [6] and neglecting it has previously been discussed in a thought-provoking article in this journal as a potential violation of human rights [7].