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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557


PARENTE, Ana Alice Amaral Ibiapina; MARCH, Maria de Fátima Pombo; EVANGELISTA, Lucia de Araujo  and  CUNHA, Antonio Ledo. Perception of dyspnea in childhood asthma crisis by the patients and those in charge of them. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2011, vol.87, n.6, pp.541-546. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the correlation between perception of dyspnea during a mild to moderate asthma attack using the Modified Borg Scale (MBS) and peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR). METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study conducted with children and adolescents who sought a pediatric emergency service due to an asthma attack. Data were collected from July 2005 to June 2006. Demographic data were recorded. Patients and those in charge of them were requested to grade, individually, the patient's dyspnea using the MBS; afterwards, the peak expiratory flow rate was measured. RESULTS: 181 asthmatic patients were evaluated, with a mean age of 7.2 (± 2.4) years (range, 4-12). The mother sought medical aid in 83.4% of the cases (151/181). Patient symptoms included coughing in 68.5% (124/181), dyspnea in 47.0% (85/181), and wheezing in 12.7% (23/181). Thirty-six percent (65/181) had a mild attack, and 64.1% (116/181) a moderate one. A significant negative correlation was found between the patients' and accompanying adults' perceptions of patient's dyspnea and the PEFR (% predicted; rs = -0.240 and rs = -0.385, respectively). CONCLUSION: Both the patients and those looking after them had a poor perception of the severity of the patient's dyspnea. This emphasizes the need to monitor objective measures such as the PEFR and to develop better ways of evaluating dyspnea.

Keywords : Perception; asthma; dyspnea.

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