Visual analogue scale: Evaluation of the instrument for the assessment of pruritus

Reich Adam, Monika Heisig, Ngoc Quan Phan, Kenichi Taneda, Kenji Takamori, Satoshi Takeuchi, Masutaka Furue, Christine Blome, Matthias Augustin, Sonja Ständer, Jacek C. Szepietowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

349 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to evaluate the visual analogue scale (VAS) as a method of pruritus assessment. A total of 310 subjects with pruritic dermatoses (148 Caucasian subjects and 162 Asian subjects) were recruited. The patients assessed pruritus intensity using the horizontal and vertical VAS, numeric rating scale (NRS) and verbal rating scale (VRS). All scales showed very good repro-ducibility (intraclass coeffcient (ICC) > 0.8). No significant differences were found between the horizontal and vertical VAS (5.3 ± 2.9 vs. 5.3 ± 3.0 points, p = 0.34). Using NRS, patients rated their pruritus signifcantly higher than with VAS (5.7 ± 2.6 points, p < 0.01). VRS showed the highest correlation with NRS (R = 0.82, p < 0.001), followed by horizontal (R = 0.75, p < 0.001) and vertical VAS (R = 0.74, p < 0.001). Based on detailed analysis following VAS categories were proposed: 0 = no pruritus, > 0-< 4 points = mild pruritus, ≥ 4 -< 7 points = moderate pruritus, ≥ 7-< 9 points = severe pruritus, and ≥ 9 points = very severe pruritus. In conclusion, the VA S is a valuable method of pruritus measurement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-501
Number of pages5
JournalActa dermato-venereologica
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology


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