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: 6.53).
08/2011; 13(8):838-45. DOI: 10.1093/eurjhf/hfr062
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.
Available from: Paula Meek
- "Results of that study  also suggested several potentially distinguishable dimensions of sensory quality in ED patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), three of which (Smothering/Air hunger, Work/Effort, and Tightness) were confirmed in a subsequent study of hospital patients admitted for heart failure . Only a few other studies have attempted to assess sensory qualities of dyspnea during ED visits [24,25]. The results of these studies suggest that multiple sensory quality dimensions of dyspnea may be common to patients of various diagnoses who come to an ED because of dyspnea. "
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Dyspnea is among the most common reasons for emergency department (ED) visits by patients with cardiopulmonary disease who are commonly asked to recall the symptoms that prompted them to come to the ED. The reliability of recalled dyspnea has not been systematically investigated in ED patients.
Patients with chronic or acute cardiopulmonary conditions who came to the ED with dyspnea (N = 154) completed the Multidimensional Dyspnea Profile (MDP) several times during the visit and in a follow-up visit 4 to 6 weeks later (n = 68). The MDP has 12 items with numerical ratings of intensity, unpleasantness, sensory qualities, and emotions associated with how breathing felt when participants decided to come to the ED (recall MDP) or at the time of administration (“now” MDP). The recall MDP was administered twice in the ED and once during the follow-up visit. Principal components analysis (PCA) with varimax rotation was used to assess domain structure of the recall MDP. Internal consistency reliability was assessed with Cronbach’s alpha. Test–retest reliability was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) for absolute agreement for individual items and domains.
PCA of the recall MDP was consistent with two domains (Immediate Perception, 7 items, Cronbach’s alpha = .89 to .94; Emotional Response, 5 items; Cronbach’s alpha = .81 to .85). Test–retest ICCs for the recall MDP during the ED visit ranged from .70 to .87 for individual items and were .93 and .94 for the Immediate Perception and Emotional Response domains. ICCs were much lower for the interval between the ED visit and follow-up, both for individual items (.28 to .66) and for the Immediate Perception and Emotional Response domains (.72 and .78, respectively).
During an ED visit, recall MDP ratings of dyspnea at the time participants decided to seek care in the ED are reliable and sufficiently stable, both for individual items and the two domains, that a time lag between arrival and questionnaire administration does not critically affect recall of perceptual and emotional characteristics immediately prior to the visit. However, test–retest reliability of recall over a 4- to 6-week interval is poor for individual items and significantly attenuated for the two domains.
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ABSTRACT: In the assessment of dyspnea one has to take into account both the patient's own experience of the symptom and the clinicians observations of breathing rates, sounds and effort to get a complete picture. In addition, to choose appropriate treatment, the underlying cause of dyspnea needs to be assessed. While tools for clinical evaluation of heart failure have gained great interest in research and found a place in guidelines and clinical practice, the same cannot be said for instruments to assess patient self-reported dyspnea. To date, no specific dyspnea rating tool has been recommend over another. Reports from clinical practice are lacking and large; international studies in this field are warranted.
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