Measuring shortness of breath in heart failure (SOB-HF): development and validation of a new dyspnoea assessment tool.

Institute of Health and Care Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Box 457, SE 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden.
European Journal of Heart Failure (Impact Factor: 5.25). 08/2011; 13(8):838-45. DOI: 10.1093/eurjhf/hfr062
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To validate a previously developed instrument for measurement of breathlessness in patients with acute heart failure (HF).
We tested descriptors of breathlessness among 190 patients seeking care at the emergency department (ED) for acute shortness of breath. Out of 115 patients with confirmed HF, 107 (94%) had dyspnoea as their main symptom. There were no significant differences between those patients with HF and those who were not diagnosed as heart failure (NHF) (n = 75) in the descriptors of breathlessness, although patients with HF scored significantly (P = 0.03) higher on a visual analogue scale (VAS). In addition, they had significantly (P = 0.03) higher breathing frequency than NHF patients and they were significantly (P < 0.001) more likely to be treated with >40 mg furosemide.
Assessment of acute dyspnoea using a VAS is useful in distinguishing HF from NHF, and may be a more valid approach as compared with using descriptors of intensity of breathlessness in the acute setting.