Dyspnea

Common Name(s)

Dyspnea

Dyspnea is the feeling of shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. It is commonly experienced by people with advanced stages of lung cancer, asthma, or other conditions affecting the lungs or heart. Dyspnea may be caused by physical factors, such as an airway obstruction, or biological factors, such as a decreased amount of red blood cells in the body. Individuals may have blocked airways, narrow airways, or fluid in their lungs or heart. Inflammation of lung tissue after radiation exposure may also cause shortness of breath. Decreased oxygen in the blood or an interruption in blood supply to the heart or lungs may also cause dyspnea. Other causes include stress, anxiety, and illnesses such as pneumonia.

Dyspnea is a symptom that may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as chest tightness, anxiety, and a feeling of suffocation. Despite the feeling of suffocation, dyspnea does not cause suffocation or death, and patients may experience dyspnea even with normal oxygen levels. However, those who experience dyspnea should seek medical attention in order to be evaluated for the presence of diseases affecting the lungs, airways, or heart.

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the dyspnea. General actions to reduce symptoms include not smoking, staying well hydrated, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Devices such as humidifiers or incentive spirometers may be used to make breathing easier for affected individuals. Anti-anxiety or pain medications may be prescribed to affected individuals. If stress or anxiety is identified as the main cause, relaxation and breathing exercises may be used. If you or your child has been diagnosed with dyspnea, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options.

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Dyspnea" for support, advocacy or research.

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General Support Organizations

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Dyspnea" returned 485 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Prevalence and Predictive Value of Dyspnea Ratings in Hospitalized Patients: Pilot Studies.
 

Author(s): Jennifer P Stevens, Kathy Baker, Michael D Howell, Robert B Banzett

Journal:

 

Dyspnea (breathing discomfort) can be as powerfully aversive as pain, yet is not routinely assessed and documented in the clinical environment. Routine identification and documentation of dyspnea is the first step to improved symptom management and it may also identify patients at ...

Last Updated: 13 Apr 2016

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Continuous Intravenous Morphine Infusion for Severe Dyspnea in Terminally Ill Interstitial Pneumonia Patients.
 

Author(s): Makiko Takeyasu, Atsushi Miyamoto, Daisuke Kato, Yui Takahashi, Kazumasa Ogawa, Kyoko Murase, Sayaka Mochizuki, Shigeo Hanada, Hironori Uruga, Hisashi Takaya, Nasa Morokawa, Kazuma Kishi

Journal: Intern. Med.. 2016 ;55(7):725-9.

 

The aims of this study were to evaluate the efficacy and safety of continuous morphine infusion for dyspnea in patients with acute exacerbation (AE) of end-stage interstitial pneumonia (IP).

Last Updated: 4 Apr 2016

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Six-Minute Walk Test in Renal Failure Patients: Representative Results, Performance Analysis and Perceived Dyspnea Predictors.
 

Author(s): Maja Bučar Pajek, Ivan Čuk, Bojan Leskošek, Gregor Mlinšek, Jadranka Buturović Ponikvar, Jernej Pajek

Journal:

 

Six-minute walk test in dialysis population hasn't been consistently evaluated for the isolated impact of renal failure and other predictive factors. We measured six-minute walk distance in patients representative for low level of comorbidity and searched for potentially modifiable ...

Last Updated: 17 Mar 2016

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Dyspnea" returned 46 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Multidimensional Dyspnea Profile: an instrument for clinical and laboratory research.
 

Author(s): Robert B Banzett, Carl R O'Donnell, Tegan E Guilfoyle, Mark B Parshall, Richard M Schwartzstein, Paula M Meek, Richard H Gracely, Robert W Lansing

Journal: Eur. Respir. J.. 2015 Jun;45(6):1681-91.

 

There is growing awareness that dyspnoea, like pain, is a multidimensional experience, but measurement instruments have not kept pace. The Multidimensional Dyspnea Profile (MDP) assesses overall breathing discomfort, sensory qualities, and emotional responses in laboratory and clinical ...

Last Updated: 1 Jun 2015

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Point-of-care ultrasonography for the diagnosis of acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema in patients presenting with acute dyspnea: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
 

Author(s): Mohammad Al Deeb, Skye Barbic, Robin Featherstone, Jerrald Dankoff, David Barbic

Journal: Acad Emerg Med. 2014 Aug;21(8):843-52.

 

Acute dyspnea is a common presenting complaint to the emergency department (ED), and point-of-care (POC) lung ultrasound (US) has shown promise as a diagnostic tool in this setting. The primary objective of this systematic review was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of ...

Last Updated: 1 Sep 2014

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Unrecognized suffering in the ICU: addressing dyspnea in mechanically ventilated patients.
 

Author(s): Matthieu Schmidt, Robert B Banzett, Mathieu Raux, Capucine Morélot-Panzini, Laurence Dangers, Thomas Similowski, Alexandre Demoule

Journal: Intensive Care Med. 2014 Jan;40(1):1-10.

 

Intensive care unit (ICU) patients are exposed to many sources of discomfort. Although increasing attention is being given to the detection and treatment of pain, very little is given to the detection and treatment of dyspnea (defined as "breathing discomfort").

Last Updated: 6 Dec 2013

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Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

Aerosol Inhalation Treatment for Dyspnea - Patients
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Dyspnea

 

Last Updated: 21 Jul 2016

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Hospital Without Dyspnea. Rationale and Design of a Multidisciplinary Intervention
 

Status: Not yet recruiting

Condition Summary: Dyspnea

 

Last Updated: 19 Feb 2016

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Vibration Response Imaging (VRI) in Dyspnea Patients Presenting to the ED
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Dyspnea

 

Last Updated: 12 May 2011

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