Coronavirus: You Can Use This Test at Home to Assess Your Level of Respiratory Distress
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Last updated - 01:13 PM
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In many areas around the world hospitals are reaching. or are already at full capacity because of COVID-19. As demand for healthcare soars, doctors are turning to telemedicine in an effort to preserve valuable hospital resources that are currently in short supply.

As a result, video conferencing is being utilized by clinicians to assess the severity of a patient’s symptoms and to determine the best care setting for the patient. If a patient’s symptoms are mild, they can be managed at home.

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One telemedicine tool that doctors are turning to amid this pandemic is called the Roth score. The Roth score was developed by Dr Rachel M. Roth, a US-trained family physician with specialties in research and global health. Her test was designed to use patient counting times to accurately risk-stratify dyspnea severity in terms of hypoxia. 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the medical terms just mentioned:

Risk Stratification- is defined as an ongoing process of assigning all patients in a practice a particular risk status.

Dyspnea- is the medical term for shortness of breath, sometimes described as “air hunger.”

Hypoxia- is a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply at the tissue level.

Her test is simple and is measured by having patients count from 1 to 30 in their native language, in a single breath, as rapidly as possible. The idea is if you can count to 30 very quickly in a single breath, your level of respiratory distress is low. There a few more nuances to this test which are explained to you in the video below.


The official study concludes that “the Roth score has strong correlation with dyspnea severity as determined by hypoxia. This tool is reproducible, low resource-utilization, and amenable to telemedicine. It is not intended to replace full clinical workup and diagnosis of respiratory distress, but it is useful in risk-stratifying severity of dyspnea that warrants further clinical evaluation”.

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