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Assessing your breathless patient

COPD Assessment Test (CAT) 1

You can help your patients find out how their COPD is affecting their lives and how well they are managing their symptoms – the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) is a questionnaire designed to measure the impact of COPD on patients’ lives, and how this changes over time. 1

  • CAT is simple to administer
  • Complete it with your patients during a consultation or suggest they complete it themselves at home.

To access the CAT, go to

GOLD Guidelines 2

The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) works with healthcare professionals and public health officials to raise awareness of COPD, and its guidelines aim to improve prevention and treatment. 2

  • GOLD guidelines provide a useful reference tool to help you ensure your management of COPD patients is in line with the latest advice and evidence.

To access the GOLD guidelines, go to

The Modified Medical Research Council Dyspnoea Scale (mMRC)

The mMRC scale uses a simple grading system to assess your patient's level of dyspnoea or shortness of breath. This scale helps assess the degree of disability that breathlessness poses on the day-to-day activities of your patients. It measures a broad range of disability due to breathlessness, from only mild, up to severe limitations.

This diagram will support you when explaining the mMRC scale to your patients:


Adapted from The Medical Research Council Dyspnoea scale (mMRC dyspnea scale)

The St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ)

The SGRQ is a questionnaire designed to measure the impact on overall health, daily life and perceived well-being in your patients with obstructive airways disease. Scores are calculated for three areas: symptoms, activity and impact (Psycho-social) as well as a total score.

To access the SGRQ, go to

For information on how a typical patient might present, click here


  1. Jones PW et al. Eur Respir J 2009; 34:648–654.
  2. Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (GOLD) 2017.

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