The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Melinda M. Weaver1,2, Teresa A. Volsko3, Deborah R. Christmas2; 1Respiratory Care, St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown, OH; 2Health Professions, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH; 3Lifeline Partners, Inc., Boardman, OH

Background: Dyspnea scales are used for the evaluation of breathlessness in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These scales have the potential to provide quick, easy, and rapid information about a patient's subjective assessment of ease of breathing. Two of the most frequently used scales are the Modified Borg Scale (MBS) and the Modified Medical Research Council (MMRC) dyspnea scales. The primary purpose of this study is to compare different dyspnea scales to determine ease of use with COPD patients. We hypothesize that patients with COPD can more easily communicate their level of dyspnea with the MMRC than those patients who use the MBS. Methods: Patients between the ages of 21 to 95 years with a diagnosis of COPD and current pulmonary rehabilitation prescription were recruited. Study participants were instructed to document their level of breathlessness while at rest and two minutes after completing their first prescribed exercise program using the MBS and MMRC dyspnea scales. The dyspnea ratings for each scale before and after graded exercise and patient preferences for ease of use were recorded on the data gathering form/patient questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were used to report results. Results: Twenty-five patients, ages 54 to 92 years, mean, 71 years (+SD 9.0) consented to study participation. Most participants were male (56%). Forty-eighty percent of subjects reported that their dyspnea level increased after exercise when using the MBS. However, when using the MMRC scale, only 40% of those same subjects reported an increase in their dyspnea level. In terms of ease of use, 52% of subjects found the MMRC easier to use. However, the majority of patients, 52%, reported the MBS as a scale that more accurately describes their dyspnea level. Conclusions: The MMRC may be an easy tool to use, but patients with chronic disease do not perceive it accurately described their dyspnea level.
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