Multidimensional assessment of dyspnoea

Ingrid Harle and Deborah Dudgeon

in Supportive Care in Respiratory Disease

Second edition

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199591763
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739149 | DOI:

Series: Supportive Care Series

Multidimensional assessment of dyspnoea

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Dyspnoea is a common and distressing symptom in people with advanced disease of diverse aetiologies. The American Thoracic Society defines dyspnoea as: ‘a subjective experience of breathing discomfort that consists of qualitatively distinct sensations that vary in intensity’. This chapter discusses the multidimensional assessment of dyspnoea. The process involves both a clinical appraisal and measurement of the different factors that impact on the perception of breathlessness and the effects of shortness of breath on the individual. Prior to embarking on an assessment of a person's dyspnoea it is important to determine what questions you are trying to answer and in the setting of advanced disease for which clinical assessments and measurements are reasonable to consider given the patient's diagnosis, prognosis, functional abilities, setting, and goals of care. Clinical assessments are usually to determine the underlying pathophysiology, the most effective treatments, and subsequently the response to the interventions. Measurement instruments or tools are used to bring some objectivity and precision to the evaluation of clinical assessments or interventions and to answer research questions.

Keywords: breathlessness; shortness of breath; clinical assessments; measurement; interventions

Chapter.  8279 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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