Should I use the Roth score? NO Click here for more detail.
- Ask the patient (or caregiver) to describe the problem with their breathing in their own words, and assess the ease and comfort of their speech. Ask open-ended questions and listen to whether the patient can complete their sentences.
- “How is your breathing today?”
- Then specifically check symptoms
- “Are you so breathless that you are unable to speak more than a few words?”
- “Are you breathing harder or faster than usual when doing nothing at all?”
- “Are you so ill that you’ve stopped doing all of your usual daily activities?”
- Focus on change. A clear story of deterioration is more important than whether the patient currently feels short of breath. Ask questions like
- “Is your breathing faster, slower or the same as normal?”
- “What could you do yesterday that you can’t do today?”
- “What makes you breathless now that didn’t make you breathless yesterday?”
Interpret the breathlessness in the context of the wider history and physical signs. For example, a new, audible wheeze and a verbal report of blueness of the lips in a breathless patient are concerning.
In addition, a video examination will add key detail such as whether the patient is blue, the extent of respiratory effort and the opportunity to count the respiratory rate.