Standardized Asthma Assessments

Traditional asthma assessments measure asthma control. But they are not always the most reliable. Having asthma means that your lung and breathing function can change. So, there may be times when your breathing seems normal (when measured), but your asthma is not under control. Traditional breathing tests do not always catch those subtle changes. The solution is to include the use of standardized asthma assessments to determine your level of asthma control. 

Standardized asthma assessments help healthcare providers measure asthma management and identify at-risk people (people whose asthma seems controlled but could change). These are the standardized assessments your healthcare provider may use to assess your asthma).

Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ)

The Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) uses seven questions to measure asthma control in children and adults. These questions look at nighttime waking, morning symptoms, activity limitations, shortness of breath, and wheezing. The ACQ also looks at your use of rescue inhalers and lung function.

There are shortened versions of this standardized asthma assessment tool. However, the shortened versions do not look at the same aspects of your asthma. For instance, some shortened versions assess just your asthma symptoms, while others measure your lung function or asthma symptoms with just rescue inhalers.

Completing the ACQ

To complete the ACQ, you answer six questions. The seventh item is a measure of your breathing function, which your healthcare provider measures. You average your scores for each question to get an ACQ score. Your ACQ score ranges from 0-6.

Interpreting Your ACQ Score

A score of 0 indicates controlled asthma. On the other hand, a score of 6 indicates uncontrolled asthma. Consult with your healthcare provider about the meaning of your ACQ score.

Asthma Control Test (ACT)

The Asthma Control Test (ACT) uses five questions to detect poorly controlled asthma in people over 12 within a frame of four weeks. These questions look at the effects of asthma, such as daytime or nighttime symptoms, use of rescue medications, impact on daily living, and your perception of asthma control.

Completing the ACT

Each question item has five possible responses worth 1-5 points. You add your score together to get an overall ACT score. Your ACT score determines your asthma control.

Interpreting Your ACT Score

Your healthcare provider interprets scores within a range. Scores between 5-15 indicate poorly controlled asthma. Additionally, scores between 16-19 indicate somewhat controlled asthma. Finally, scores between 20-25 indicate controlled asthma.

Childhood Asthma Control Test (cACT/C-ACT)

The Childhood Asthma Control Test (cACT or C-ACT) is a seven-question assessment is for children 4-11. The cACT/C-ACT is similar to the ACT, but it is different in a few ways. The first difference is it has two parts (one that you complete and the other your child completes). The second difference is it consists of seven questions that assess activity limitation, sleep disruptions, and general thoughts about asthma.

Completing the cACT

As a caregiver, you help your child with asthma complete the questionnaire. Your child answers the four questions about activity limitations, nighttime waking and symptoms, and their thoughts about asthma. You answer the other three questions. The questions you answer look at your child’s daytime complaints, daytime limitations, and sleep disruptions, such as wheezing or other asthma symptoms.

Interpreting the cACT

The questions your child answer has four response options. The questions you answer have six response options. You add the scores together to obtain a cACT or C-ACT score. A score less than 19 is a low score. Low scores mean poorly controlled asthma.

Asthma Therapy Assessment Questionnaire (ATAQ)

The Asthma Therapy Assessment Questionnaire (ATAQ) is a four-questioned standardized assessment that helps identify people at risk for poorly controlled asthma. The ATAQ looks at different aspects of your asthma, such as your thoughts about asthma control, activity limitations, sleep disturbances, and the use of rescue medications over four weeks. 

Completing the ATAQ

Each question is assigned a yes or no response. However, only your yes responses get a score (one point). You add your scores together to obtain your total score.

Interpreting Your ATAQ Score

Your score ranges from 0-4. For this standardized assessment, lower scores are better. To illustrate, a score of 0 indicates controlled asthma. On the other hand, higher scores, like a four, indicate uncontrolled asthma.

The Pediatric/Adolescent Asthma Therapy Assessment Questionnaire

The Pediatric/Adolescent Asthma Therapy Assessment Questionnaire is a twenty-item questionnaire that identifies risks for poor asthma control in children and adolescents 5-17 years of age. The questionnaire splits these questions into four categories. These categories include asthma symptoms, use of reliever medications, perception of asthma, and satisfaction with asthma control.

Completing the Assessment

As a caregiver or parent of a child with asthma, you answer questions with three subjective ratings – yes, no, and unsure. Only your yes and unsure responses receive a score (one point). You add your scores to get a total score.

Interpreting Your Score

Your score ranges from 0-20. On this assessment, lower scores indicate controlled asthma.

Lara Asthma Symptom Scale (LASS)

The Lara Asthma Symptom Scale (LASS) is an eight-item assessment that measures asthma control in children and adults over four weeks. The items on this assessment measure the frequency of your asthma symptoms (coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain, and nighttime symptoms). The LASS also looks at how often you experience asthma attacks and your thoughts about your asthma symptoms.

Completing the LASS

Unlike other assessments, you do not complete the LASS; a healthcare provider (doctor or nurse) does. As a caregiver, you respond on behalf of your child. You respond to the questions with a descriptive rating of never, a few days, some days, most days, and every day. Each question is worth up to five points. You average your score to obtain a total score.

Interpreting Your Score

On this assessment, a lower score, like an 8, indicates controlled asthma. What that means is, there are no concerns for asthma symptoms. On the other hand, higher numbers suggest severe and uncontrolled asthma.

Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ)

The Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) is a thirty-two-item assessment that measures your quality of life. The items on this questionnaire are in four domains: asthma symptoms, activity limitations, emotional function, and environmental exposure. Unlike other standardized asthma assessments that look at your information over a month, the AQLQ looks at two weeks. 

The Pediatric Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (PAQLQ) is a shortened version for children. The PAQLQ has twenty-three questions and looks at all of the domains except emotional function.

Completing the AQLQ

You answer questions. Questions are worth up to 7 points. What do the points mean? A “1” means severe impairment. That is to say, poor quality of life. On the other hand, a “7” is good. It means there’s no impairment. You have a good quality of life.

Interpreting Your Score

Each question on the AQLQ is worth 1-7 points. A 1 suggests a severe impairment or a poor quality of life. On the other hand, a 7 indicates no impairment and good quality of life.

Asthma Control Scoring System (ACCS)

The Asthma Control Scoring System (ACCS) is an eight-item assessment that measures your asthma control over a week. The questions look at your asthma symptoms, use of rescue inhalers, activity limitations, and airway inflammation.

Interpreting Your Score

The ACCS is different from other standardized asthma assessments that give points for each of your responses. The ACCS yields percentages. A 100% is the highest possible score; it indicates controlled asthma. Anything below 40% means poorly controlled asthma.

Test for Respiratory and Asthma Control in Kids (TRACK)

The Test for Respiratory and Asthma Control in Kids (TRACK) is a five-item standardized asthma assessment tool that measures your child’s respiratory symptoms and secondary effects (sleep disturbances and activity limitations) over four weeks. The TRACK also measures your use of add-on medications over the last three months.

Completing the TRACK

As a parent or caregiver, you complete the TRACK on behalf of your child. Each question is worth 0-20 points. Your goal is 80 or more points. That score suggests that your child has controlled asthma. Scores less than 80 do not mean uncontrolled asthma. However, they strongly suggest it and breathing problems.