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Vol 9, No 3 (2010)
Original articles
Published online: 2010-12-27
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Reading numbers aloud as a tool for the evaluation of breathlessness in Polish cancer patients

Iwona Damps-Konstanska, Malgorzata Krajnik, Beata Wajda, Aleksandra Modlińska, Ewa Jassem
Advances in Palliative Medicine 2010;9(3):73-152.

open access

Vol 9, No 3 (2010)
Original articles
Published online: 2010-12-27

Abstract


Background: The aim of the study was to verify the usefulness of the test of reading numbers aloud(ReNA) in the assessment of the intensity of dyspnoea at rest or on minimal exertion in Polish patients with advanced cancer.

Material and methods: The study group included patients with advanced cancer who were breathless at rest or on minimal exertion. A modified Borg scale, a numeric rating scale (NRS) and a visual analogue scale(VAS) to assess breathlessness and peak expiratory flow (PEF) were performed. Patients then read aloud from a page containing a grid of numbers as quickly and clearly as they could for 60 seconds. It was intended to repeat the reading five times. The maximal amount of numbers read during the test (NNmax) and the maximal numbers read per breath (NN/Bmax) were noted.

Results: Thirty-one patients with evidence of cancer participated in the study. However, for statistical analysis we included 28 patients (17 males, mean age 64.1 ± SD = 8.8) who were able to read numbers aloud at least once. The mean value for the modified Borg scale was 4.07 ± 1.89, NRS 5.75 ± 2.37 and VAS 5.11 ± 2.34. The average value for PEF was 183.26 ± 89.97. Twelve patients (42.86%) were unable to complete all five readings due to tiredness and fatigue. The mean value for the NNmax was 50.39 ± 29.93 and for NN/Bmax was 2.92 ± 2.45. No correlation was observed between the results for NRS, VAS or PEF and NNmax or NN/Bmax. Only the modified Borg scale correlated moderately with NNmax and NN/Bmax (R = –0.52 and R = –0.44, respectively).

Conclusion: The ReNA seems to be a useful tool for assessing the intensity of dyspnoea at rest or on minimal exertion in Polish patients with advanced cancer. However, fatigue and tiredness due to the reading were a problem for almost half of the advanced cancer patients, who were unable to complete the whole test.

Adv. Pall. Med. 2010; 9, 3: 73–80

Abstract


Background: The aim of the study was to verify the usefulness of the test of reading numbers aloud(ReNA) in the assessment of the intensity of dyspnoea at rest or on minimal exertion in Polish patients with advanced cancer.

Material and methods: The study group included patients with advanced cancer who were breathless at rest or on minimal exertion. A modified Borg scale, a numeric rating scale (NRS) and a visual analogue scale(VAS) to assess breathlessness and peak expiratory flow (PEF) were performed. Patients then read aloud from a page containing a grid of numbers as quickly and clearly as they could for 60 seconds. It was intended to repeat the reading five times. The maximal amount of numbers read during the test (NNmax) and the maximal numbers read per breath (NN/Bmax) were noted.

Results: Thirty-one patients with evidence of cancer participated in the study. However, for statistical analysis we included 28 patients (17 males, mean age 64.1 ± SD = 8.8) who were able to read numbers aloud at least once. The mean value for the modified Borg scale was 4.07 ± 1.89, NRS 5.75 ± 2.37 and VAS 5.11 ± 2.34. The average value for PEF was 183.26 ± 89.97. Twelve patients (42.86%) were unable to complete all five readings due to tiredness and fatigue. The mean value for the NNmax was 50.39 ± 29.93 and for NN/Bmax was 2.92 ± 2.45. No correlation was observed between the results for NRS, VAS or PEF and NNmax or NN/Bmax. Only the modified Borg scale correlated moderately with NNmax and NN/Bmax (R = –0.52 and R = –0.44, respectively).

Conclusion: The ReNA seems to be a useful tool for assessing the intensity of dyspnoea at rest or on minimal exertion in Polish patients with advanced cancer. However, fatigue and tiredness due to the reading were a problem for almost half of the advanced cancer patients, who were unable to complete the whole test.

Adv. Pall. Med. 2010; 9, 3: 73–80

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Keywords

breathlessness; cancer; reading numbers aloud

About this article
Title

Reading numbers aloud as a tool for the evaluation of breathlessness in Polish cancer patients

Journal

Advances in Palliative Medicine

Issue

Vol 9, No 3 (2010)

Pages

73-152

Published online

2010-12-27

Bibliographic record

Advances in Palliative Medicine 2010;9(3):73-152.

Keywords

breathlessness
cancer
reading numbers aloud

Authors

Iwona Damps-Konstanska
Malgorzata Krajnik
Beata Wajda
Aleksandra Modlińska
Ewa Jassem

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