How Patients Who Are Transported by Ambulance Experience Dyspnea and the Use of a Dyspnea Scale: A Qualitative Study

Stine Ibsen*, Birgitte Schantz Laursen, Erika Frischknecht Christensen, Ulla Møller Weinreich, Søren Mikkelsen, Tim Alex Lindskou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Approximately 7% of all dispatched ambulances in Denmark are for patients for whom breathing difficulties are the main cause for using ambulance services. Objective measurements are routinely carried out in the ambulances, but little is known of the patients’ subjective experience of dyspnea. The purpose of this study was to investigate how patients with acute dyspnea, transported to hospital by ambulance, experience their situation, along with their experience of the use of a dyspnea scale. The study was carried out in the North Denmark Region. Transcribed patient interviews and field notes were analyzed and interpreted with inspiration from Paul Ricoeur. For interviews, we included 12 patients with dyspnea who were transported to the hospital by ambulance: six women and six men all aged 60 years or above. Observations were made over six ambulance transports related to dyspnea. Three themes emerged: “anxiety”, “reassurance in the ambulance” and “acceptance of the dyspnea measurements in the ambulance”. Several patients expressed anxiety due to their dyspnea, which was substantiated by observations in the ambulance. The patients expressed different perspectives on what improved the situation (treatment, reassurance by ambulance professionals). The patients and the ambulance personnel were, in general, in favor of the dyspnea scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1208
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number7
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • breathing difficulties
  • dyspnea
  • interview
  • patient’s experience
  • prehospital emergency care


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