MRC Dyspnoea Scale - MRC

The MRC Dyspnoea Scale, also called the MRC Breathlessness Scale, has been in use for many years for grading the effect of breathlessness on daily activities. This scale measures perceived respiratory disability, using the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of disability being “any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being”.

The MRC Dyspnoea Scale is simple to administer as it allows the patients to indicate the extent to which their breathlessness affects their mobility.

The 1-5 stage scale is used alongside the questionnaire to establish clinical grades of breathlessness.

MRC Breathlessness Scales: 1952 and 1959

Questionnaire on Respiratory Symptoms

The questionnaire was first published in 1960 under the approval of the MRC Committee on the Aetiology of Chronic Bronchitis. This was revised and a new version published in 1966. When the committee disbanded, the responsibility for it was passed to the newly formed MRC Committee for Research into Chronic Bronchitis who again revised it in 1976. When this committee disbanded, the responsibility for the questionnaire passed to the Committee on Environmental and Occupational Health (CEOH) who reviewed it and issued what remains to be the most recent version in 1986.

The Questionnaire on Respiratory Symptoms was designed to be used in large scale epidemiological studies only (100-1,000 people). It cannot be used on an individual basis.

Questionnaire on respiratory symptoms and instructions to interviewers (1966)

Questionnaire on respiratory symptoms and instructions to interviewers (1976)

Questionnaire on respiratory symptoms and instructions to interviewers (1986)

Permission to reuse the MRC Dyspnoea Scale

In accordance with MRC’s Open Access Policy, permission is granted from the MRC to use the MRC Dyspnoea Scale for any purpose (including research and commercial purposes) and MRC hereby agrees not to assert its rights in relation to the proposed use of the MRC Dyspnoea Scale.

You must give appropriate credit (“Used with the permission of the Medical Research Council”) and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests that the MRC endorses you or your use.

We cannot give permission to use any modified versions of this scale including the MRC Scale.

Note: The MRC is not in a position to authorise translations or check back-translations

Contact information

Ask a question, or get further information about any of the MRC scales.
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For information about licensing

To view the full Open Government Licence, visit National Archives: Open Government Licence Version 2.

Further context, best practice and guidance can be found in the National Archives: UK Government Licensing Framework.

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Last updated: 24 January 2022

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