The Assessment of Dyspnea during the Vigorous Intensity Exercise by Three Dyspnea Rating Scales in Inactive Medical Personnel

  •  Patrawut Intarakamhang    


It is well recognized that exercise is good for health especially as it’s known to prevent metabolic syndromes such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. To reap the benefits from exercise the most appropriate level of intensity must be determined, the level of intensity ranging from low, low to moderate to hard (vigorous).

This study is aimed to 1. To investigate and evaluate 3 subjective rating scales. The Borg scale, the Combined Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) + FACES Dyspnea Rating Scale (FACES) and the Likert scale, during hard (vigorous) exercise. 2. To compare the effectiveness of the Borg scale and Combined Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) + FACES Dyspnea Rating Scale during the hard (vigorous) intensity exercise. This study uses a descriptive methodology.

The sample group was 73 medical personnel that were leading an inactive life style, volunteers from Phramongkutklao Hospital. Participants were randomly divided into 3 groups. Group 1, those to report using the Borg Scale, group 2 using NRS + FACES, and group 3 to subjectively assess the intensity of the exercise using the Likert scale during a treadmill Exercise Stress Test (EST) using the Bruce protocol. The upper limit of the intensity in the study was equal to 85% of the maximal heart rate of all participants. The subjective reporting of the experienced level of dyspnea was undertaken immediately after the completion of exercise.

The average age of participants was 23.37 years old. The 26 participants reporting using the Borg scale had mean Borg scale score of 13.46+1.77, a mode score of 15. The 24 participants reporting intensity levels through NRS +FACES had a mean NRS + FACES score of 6.83+1.09 and mode on the NRS + FACES scale equal to 7. The Likert scale group evaluated 23 participants with a mean Likert scale score of 2.74. That is those choosing Levels 2 and 3 were 6 (26.9%) and 17 participants (73.95%), respectively. Comparing the two groups with the Borg scale at equal to or greater than 15 and NRS + FACES greater than or equal to 7 using a Chi-square test showed that there were no statistical significant differences at p = 0.084. Using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient it was found that the subjective rating of intensity in the 3 different groups was not statistically significantly related to heart rate at 85% of maximal heart rate (P> 0.05). NRS + FACES, the evaluation of the intensity of exercise at the hard (vigorous) level, was not statistically significantly different from the Borg scale.

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