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The Primary Care Respiratory Society

Inspiring best practice in respiratory care


This website is for healthcare professionals only

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The Primary Care Respiratory Society

Inspiring best practice in respiratory care

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This website is for healthcare professionals only

MRC Dyspnoea Scale

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mMRC Dyspnoea Scale
Description Grade
I only get breathless with strenuous exercise 0
I get short of breath when hurrying on level ground or walking up a slight hill 1
On level ground, I walk slower than people of my age because of breathlessness, or I have to stop for breath when walking at my own pace on the level 2
I stop for breath after walking about 100 yards or after a few minutes on level ground 3
I am too breathless to leave the house or I am breathless when dressing/undressing 4

The mMRC (Modified Medical Research Council) Dyspnoea Scale is used to assess the degree of baseline functional disability due to dyspnoea. It is useful in characterising baseline dyspnoea in patients with respiratory disease such as COPD. Whilst it moderately correlates with other healthcare-associated morbidity, mortality and quality of life scales (particularly in COPD) the scores are only variably associated with patients' perceptions of respiratory symptom burden. It is used as a component of the BODE Index, which predicts adverse outcomes, including mortality and risk of hospitalisation. The scale is easy and efficient to use.

Download a copy of the mMRC scale

The mMRC breathlessness scale ranges from grade 0 to 4. It is very similar to the original version and is now widely used in studies. It should be noted that the MRC clearly states on its website that it is unable to give permission for use of any modified version of the scale (including therefore, the mMRC scale). Use of the MRC questionnaire is free but should be acknowledged.

MRC Dyspnoea Scale
Grade Degree of breathlessness related to activity
1 Not troubled by breathless except on strenuous exercise
2 Short of breath when hurrying on a level or when walking up a slight hill
3 Walks slower than most people on the level, stops after a mile or so, or stops after 15 minutes walking at own pace
4 Stops for breath after walking 100 yards, or after a few minutes on level ground
5 Too breathless to leave the house, or breathless when dressing/undressing