COSMIN database

Weighing up the evidence-a systematic review of measures used for the sensation of breathlessness in obesity

Gerlach, Y., Williams, M. T., and Coates, A. M.
Breathlessness on exertion is common in people with obesity. Assessments of breathlessness may include sensation (intensity, sensory quality or unpleasantness) and/or the behavioral/emotional consequences of the sensation (respiratory-related functional impairment, disability or quality of life). This systematic review of primary studies published since 2005 evaluated how has the sensation of breathlessness been assessed in adults with increased adiposity. A total of 41 articles were retained from the systematic search strategy resulting in 20 instruments. The Modified Borg Scale (perceived exertion-intensity), the Medical Research Council (MRC) Scale and Baseline Dyspnea Index (BDI; both assess respiratory-related functional impairment) were, respectively, the most frequently reported instruments. Few instruments had been tested for reliability and validity in people with increased adiposity. Visual Analog Scale, Modified Borg Scale, descriptors of sensory quality, MRC and BDI can be recommended as instruments based on their psychometric properties (reliability (correlations >0.8)and concurrent validity (correlation with severity of airways obstruction and walking distance)). A greater number of instruments were identified that assessed the consequences of the breathlessness rather than breathlessness as a sensation. If sensation drives behavior, comprehensive data on the sensation of breathlessness might assist in understanding the behavioral consequences of interventions. International Journal of Obesity (2013) 37, 341-349; doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.49; published online 24 April 2012
<Go to ISI>://WOS:000316931400003
International Journal of Obesity
Publication year:
Symptom status:
Physical state
Functional status:
Physical functioning
Adults (18-65)
Seniors (65+)
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases and related symptoms
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
2 - Interviews
6 - Clinical rating scales
BDI- Baseline Dyspnoea Index
Borg (RPE) Scale - Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale   
CRDQ - Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire [alias: CRQ]   
Descriptors of sensory quality
DS - Dyspnea Scale
IUTLDQ(-D) - International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease bronchial Symptoms questionnaire (dyspnea component)
mBORG - modified BORG scale
mMRC - Modified Medical Research Council Dyspnea Scale
MRC Dyspnoea Scale - Medical Research Council Dyspnoea Scale   
MRC Respiratory Symptoms Questionnaire - Medical Research Council Respiratory Symptoms Questionnaire
NYHA (functional class) - New York Heart Association functional class questionnaire   
OCD - Oxygen Cost Diagram
VAS - Visual Analogue Scale (versions: vertical; horizontal)