Comparing recalled versus experienced symptoms of breathlessness ratings: An ecological assessment study using mobile phone technology
Background and objective: Recall of breathlessness is important for clinical care but might differ from the experienced (momentary) symptoms. This study aimed to characterize the relationship between momentary breathlessness ratings and the recall of the experience. It is hypothesized that recall is influenced by the peak (worst) and end (most recent) ratings of momentary breathlessness (peak-end rule). Methods: This study used mobile ecological momentary assessment (mEMA) for assessing breathlessness in daily life through an application installed on participants' mobile phones. Breathlessness ratings (0–10 numerical rating scale) were recorded throughout the day and recalled each night and at the end of the week. Analyses were performed using regular and mixed linear regression. Results: Eighty-four people participated. Their mean age was 64.4 years, 60% were female and 98% had modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) ≥ 1. The mean number of momentary ratings of breathlessness provided was 7.7 ratings/participant/day. Recalled breathlessness was associated with the mean, peak and end values of the day. The mean was most closely associated with the daily recall. Associations were strong for weekly values: peak breathlessness (beta = 0.95, r2 = 0.57); mean (beta = 0.91, r2 = 0.53); and end (beta = 0.67, r2 = 0.48); p < 0.001 for all. Multivariate analysis showed that peak breathlessness had the strongest influence on the breathlessness recalled at the end of the week. Conclusion: Over 1 week, recalled breathlessness is most strongly influenced by the peak breathlessness; over 1 day, it is mean breathlessness that participants most readily recalled.
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