Dyspnea, Orthopnea, and Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea

In book: Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations, Edition: 3rd, Chapter: Chapter 11, Publisher: Butterworths, Editors: H Kenneth Walker, W Dallas Hall, J Willis Hurst
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Dyspnea refers to the sensation of difficult or uncomfortable breathing. It is a subjective experience perceived and reported by an affected patient. Dyspnea on exertion (DOE) may occur normally, but is considered indicative of disease when it occurs at a level of activity that is usually well tolerated. Dyspnea should be differentiated from tachypnea, hyperventilation, and hyperpnea, which refer to respiratory variations regardless of the patients" subjective sensations. Tachypnea is an increase in the respiratory rate above normal; hyperventilation is increased minute ventilation relative to metabolic need, and hyperpnea is a disproportionate rise in minute ventilation relative to an increase in metabolic level. These conditions may not always be associated with dyspnea. Orthopnea is the sensation of breathlessness in the recumbent position, relieved by sitting or standing. Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (PND) is a sensation of shortness of breath that awakens the patient, often after 1 or 2 hours of sleep, and is usually relieved in the upright position. Two uncommon types of breathlessness are trepopnea and platypnea. Trepopnea is dyspnea that occurs in one lateral decubitus position as opposed to the other. Platypnea refers to breathlessness that occurs in the upright position and is relieved with recumbency.

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