Dyspnea: Wikis


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Dyspnea
ICD-10 R06.0
ICD-9 786.0
DiseasesDB 15892
MedlinePlus 003075
MeSH D004417

Dyspnea or dyspnoea (pronounced disp-nee-ah, IPA /dɪsp'niə/), from Latin dyspnoea, from Greek dyspnoia from dyspnoos, shortness of breath), also called shortness of breath (SOB) or air hunger[1], is a debilitating symptom that is the experience of unpleasant or uncomfortable respiratory sensations.[2] It is a common symptom of numerous medical disorders, particularly those involving the cardiovascular and respiratory systems; dyspnea on exertion is the most common presenting complaint for people with respiratory impairment.[3]

Contents

Definition

Lungs and breathing activity
Commonly confused terminology
Shortness of breath or dyspnea - sensation of respiratory distress
Labored breathing - physical presentation of respiratory distress
Hyperventilation - increased breathing that causes CO2 loss
Hyperpnea - faster and/or deeper breathing
Tachypnea - increased breathing rate
Hyperaeration/Hyperinflation - increased lung volume

Dyspnea has been more specifically defined by the American Thoracic Society as the "subjective experience of breathing discomfort that consists of qualitatively distinct sensations that vary in intensity. The experience derives from interactions among multiple physiological, psychological, social, and environmental factors, and may induce secondary physiological and behavioral responses."[2]

Importantly, dyspnea is a symptom experienced by the individual, rather than a noticeable or measurable sign.

Still, many[4] simply define dyspnea as difficulty in breathing without further specification, which may confuse it with e.g. labored breathing or tachypnea (rapid breathing).[5] Labored breathing has occasionally been included in the definition as well.[6] However, in the standard definition, these related signs may be present at the same time, but don't necessarily have to be. For instance, in respiratory arrest by a primary failure in respiratory muscles the patient, if conscious, may experience dyspnea, yet without having any labored breathing or tachypnea. The other way around, labored breathing or tachypnea can voluntarily be performed even when there is no dyspnea.

Differential diagnosis

Pulmonary disorders

Other causes of diminished breathing

Pathophysiology

In general, dyspnea signals that there is inadequate ventilation.[3] This happens when the body is unable to ventilate enough to sufficiently meet the body's needs. This situation may occur when there is increased ventilatory demand (e.g. during exercise) or reduced ability to ventilate enough (e.g. due to respiratory muscle weakness).[5]


Although the exact mechanisms of dyspnea are not fully understood, some general details have been found. It is currently thought that there are three main components that contribute to dyspnea: afferent signals, efferent signals, and central information processing. It is believed that the central processing in the brain compares the afferent and efferent signals, and that a "mismatch" results in the sensation of dyspnea. In other words, dyspnea may result when the need for ventilation (afferent signaling) is not being met by the physical breathing that is occurring (efferent signaling).[8]

Afferent signals are sensory neuronal signals that ascend to the brain. Afferent neurons significant in dyspnea arise from a large number of sources including the carotid bodies, medulla, lungs, and chest wall. Chemoreceptors in the carotid bodies and medulla supply information regarding the blood gas levels of O2, CO2 and H+. In the lungs, juxtacapillary (J) receptors are sensitive to pulmonary interstitial edema, while stretch receptors signal bronchoconstriction. Muscle spindles in the chest wall signal the stretch and tension of the respiratory muscles. Thus, poor ventilation leading to hypercapnia, left heart failure leading to interstitial edema (impairing gas exchange), asthma causing bronchoconstriction (limiting airflow) and muscle fatigue leading to ineffective respiratory muscle action could all contribute to a feeling of dyspnea.[8]

Efferent signals are the motor neuronal signals descending to the respiratory muscles. The most important respiratory muscle is the diaphragm. Other respiratory muscles include the external and internal intercostal muscles, the abdominal muscles and the accessory breathing muscles.

As the brain receives its plentiful supply of afferent information relating to ventilation, it is able to compare it to the current level of respiration as determined by the efferent signals. If the level of respiration is inappropriate for the body's status then dyspnea might occur. It is worth noting that there is a psychological component of dyspnea as well, as some people may become aware of their breathing in such circumstances but not experience the distress typical of dyspnea.[8]

Evaluation

Dyspnea can be a worrying and disabling symptom for the patient. In order to assess the level of dyspnea, the doctor might ask the patient to rank the severity from 1 to 10. Alternatively a scale such as the MRC Breathlessness Scale might be used - it suggests five different grades of dyspnea based on the circumstances in which it arises.[9]

Grade Degree of dyspnea
0 no dyspnea except with strenuous exercise
1 dyspnea when walking up an incline or hurrying on the level
2 walks slower than most on the level, or stops after 15 minutes of walking on the level
3 stops after a few minutes of walking on the level
4 dyspnea with minimal activity such as getting dressed, too dyspneic to leave the house

Some studies have suggested that up to 27% of people suffer dyspnea,[3] while in dying patients 75% will experience it.[8]

Treatment

Intravenous or oral immediate-release opioids have a strong level of evidence supporting their use in causing a reduction of breathlessness. There is a lack of evidence to recommend extended-release morphine, midazolam combined with morphine, nebulised opioids, the use of gas mixtures, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. There is evidence to support the use of oxygen in hypoxic cancer patients.[10]

Epidemiology

People with SOB make up about 7% of people who present to the emergency department in the United States. Of these approximately 51% are admitted to hospital and 13% are dead within a year.[11]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ About.com Health's Disease and Condition content > Dyspnea By Deborah Leader. Updated August 05, 2008
  2. ^ a b American Heart Society (1999). "Dyspnea mechanisms, assessment, and management: a consensus statement". Am Rev Resp Crit Care Med 159: 321–340. 
  3. ^ a b c Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine, 4th Ed. Robert J. Mason, John F. Murray, Jay A. Nadel, 2005, Elsevier
  4. ^ TheFreeDictionary, retrieved on Dec 12, 2009. Citing:
    • The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.
    • Ologies & -Isms. The Gale Group 2008
  5. ^ a b West JB (2008). Pulmonary pathophysiology: the essentials (7 ed.). Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 45. 
  6. ^ Definition of Dyspnea MedicineNet. Last Editorial Review: 11/1/1998]
  7. ^ Simpson, Kathleen Rice; Patricia A Creehan (2007). Perinatal Nursing (3rd ed. ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 66. ISBN 9780781767590. http://books.google.com/books?id=oz_4cTmVFD4C&pg=PA66. 
  8. ^ a b c d Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (Kasper DL, Fauci AS, Longo DL, et al (eds)) (16th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
  9. ^ Stenton C (2008). "The MRC breathless scale.". Occup Med 58: 226–7. doi:10.1093/occmed/kqm162. PMID 18441368. 
  10. ^ DiSalvo, WM.; Joyce, MM.; Tyson, LB.; Culkin, AE.; Mackay, K. (Apr 2008). "Putting evidence into practice: evidence-based interventions for cancer-related dyspnea." (PDF). Clin J Oncol Nurs 12 (2): 341-52. doi:10.1188/08.CJON.341-352. PMID 18390468. http://ons.metapress.com/content/c21324512r838824/fulltext.pdf. 
  11. ^ Stephen J. Dubner; Steven D. Levitt (2009). SuperFreakonomics: Tales of Altruism, Terrorism, and Poorly Paid Prostitutes. New York: William Morrow. pp. 77. ISBN 0-06-088957-8. 

References

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (2006). Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 28th Edition. Baltimore, Maryland: Julie K. Stegman. pp. 601. ISBN 0-7817-3390-1. 

External links


Dyspnea
ICD-10 R06.0
ICD-9 786.0
DiseasesDB 15892
MedlinePlus 003075
MeSH D004417

Dyspnea (also spelled dyspnoea) or (shortness of breath (SOB), air hunger)[1], is the subjective symptom of breathlessness.[2][3] It is a normal symptom of heavy exertion however becomes pathological if it occurs in unexpected situations.[2] In 85% of cases it is due to either: asthma, pneumonia, cardiac ischemia, interstitial lung disease, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or psychogenic causes.[4] Treatment typically depends on the underlying cause.[5]

Contents

Definition

Lungs and breathing activity
Eupnea - normal breathing
Bradypnea - decreased breathing rate
Dyspnea or shortness of breath - sensation of respiratory distress
Hyperaeration/Hyperinflation - increased lung volume
Hyperpnea - faster and/or deeper breathing
Hyperventilation - increased breathing that causes CO2 loss
Labored breathing - physical presentation of respiratory distress
Tachypnea - increased breathing rate

Dyspnea does not have a well defined or universally accepted definition.[4] It is defined by the American Thoracic Society as the "subjective experience of breathing discomfort that consists of qualitatively distinct sensations that vary in intensity. The experience derives from interactions among multiple physiological, psychological, social, and environmental factors, and may induce secondary physiological and behavioral responses."[6] Other definitions of dyspnea include: "difficulty in breathing"[7] and "uncomfortable awareness of breathing",[3] or simple "breathlessness".[2]

Acute breathlessness is defined as severe shortness of breath that develops over minutes to hours.[5] Chronic breathlessness on the other hand comes on over weeks or months.[8]

Differential diagnosis

While shortness of breath is generally caused by disorders of the cardiac or respiratory system other system such as musculoskeletal, endocrine, hematologic, and psychiatric maybe the cause.[4] DiagnosisPro, an online medical expert system, listed 497 distinct causes in October of 2010.[9] The most common cardiovascular causes are acute myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure while common pulmonary causes include: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, pneumothorax, and pneumonia.[2]

Acute coronary syndrome

Acute coronary syndrome frequently presents with retrosternal chest discomfort and difficulty catching the breath.[2] It however may atypically present with shortness of breath alone.[10] Risk factors include: old age, smoking, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes.[10] An electrocardiogram and cardiac enzymes are important both for diagnosis and directing treatment.[10] Treatment involves measures to decrease the oxygen requirement of the heart and efforts to increase blood flow.[2]

Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure frequently presents with SOB with exertion, orthopnea, and paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea.[2] It affects between 1-2% of the general United States population and occurs in 10% of those over 65 years old.[2][10] Risk factors for acute decompensation include: high dietary salt intake, medication noncompliance, cardiac ischemia, dysrhythmias, renal failure, pulmonary emboli, hypertension, and infections.[10] Treatment efforts are directed towards decreasing lung congestion.[2]

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), most commonly emphysema or chronic bronchitis, frequently have chronic shortness of breath and a chronic productive cough.[2] An acute exacerbation presents with increased shortness of breath and sputum production.[2] COPD is a risk factor for pneumothorax thus this condition should be ruled out.[2] In an acute exacerbation treatment is with a combination of anticholinergics, beta2-adrenoceptor agonists, steroids and possibly positive pressure ventilation.[2]

Asthma

Asthma is the most common reason for presenting to the emergency with shortness of breath.[2] It is the most common long disease in both developing and developed countries affecting about 5% of the population.[2] Other symptoms include: wheezing, tightness in the chest, and a non productive cough.[2] Inhaled beta2-adrenergic agonist (salbutamol) are first line therapy and usually lead to prompt improvement.[2]

Pneumothorax

Pneumothorax presents typically with pleuritic chest pain of acute onset and shortness of breath not improved with oxygen.[2] Physical findings may include: absent breath sounds on one side of the chest, jugular venous distension, and tracheal deviation.[2]

Pneumonia

The symptoms of pneumonia are fever, productive cough, shortness of breath, and pleuritic chest pain.[2] Inspiratory crackles may be heard on exam.[2] A chest x-ray can be useful to differential pneumonia from congestive heart failure.[2] As the cause is usually a bacterial infections antibiotics are typically used for treatment.[2]

Pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism classically presents with an acute onset of shortness of breath.[2] Other presenting symptoms include: pleuritic chest pain,cough, hemoptysis, and fever.[2] Risk factors include: deep vein thrombosis, recent surgery, cancer, and previous thromboembolism.[2] It must always be considered in those with acute onset of shortness of breath due to its high risk of mortality.[2] Diagnosis however may be difficult.[2] Treatment is typically with anticoagulants.[2]

Other

Other important or common causes of shortness of breath include: cardiac tamponade, anemia, anaphylaxis, interstitial lung disease and panic attacks.[11][5][4] Cardiac tamponade presents with dyspnea, tachycardia, elevated jugular venous pressure, and pulsus paradoxus.[11] The gold standard for diagnosis is ultrasound.[11] Anemia, that develops gradually, usually presents with exertional dyspnea, fatigue, weakness, and tachycardia.[11] It may lead to heart failure.[11] Anaphylaxis typically begins over a few minutes in a person with a previous history of the same.[5] Other symptoms include: urticaria, throat swelling, and gastrointestinal upset.[5] The primary treatment is epinephrine.[5] Interstitial lung disease presents with gradual onset of shortness of breath typically with a history of a predisposing environmental exposure.[4] Shortness of breath is often the only symptom in those with tachydysrhythmias.[10] Panic attacks typically present with hyperventilation, sweating, and numbness.[5] They are however a diagnosis of exclusion.[4]

Pathophysiology

A number of different physiological pathway may lead to shortness of breath including via chemoreceptors, mechanoreceptors, and lung receptors.[10]

It is currently thought that there are three main components that contribute to dyspnea: afferent signals, efferent signals, and central information processing. It is believed that the central processing in the brain compares the afferent and efferent signals, and that a "mismatch" results in the sensation of dyspnea. In other words, dyspnea may result when the need for ventilation (afferent signaling) is not being met by the physical breathing that is occurring (efferent signaling).[12] Afferent signals are sensory neuronal signals that ascend to the brain. Afferent neurons significant in dyspnea arise from a large number of sources including the carotid bodies, medulla, lungs, and chest wall. Chemoreceptors in the carotid bodies and medulla supply information regarding the blood gas levels of O2, CO2 and H+. In the lungs, juxtacapillary (J) receptors are sensitive to pulmonary interstitial edema, while stretch receptors signal bronchoconstriction. Muscle spindles in the chest wall signal the stretch and tension of the respiratory muscles. Thus, poor ventilation leading to hypercapnia, left heart failure leading to interstitial edema (impairing gas exchange), asthma causing bronchoconstriction (limiting airflow) and muscle fatigue leading to ineffective respiratory muscle action could all contribute to a feeling of dyspnea.[12]

Efferent signals are the motor neuronal signals descending to the respiratory muscles. The most important respiratory muscle is the diaphragm. Other respiratory muscles include the external and internal intercostal muscles, the abdominal muscles and the accessory breathing muscles.

As the brain receives its plentiful supply of afferent information relating to ventilation, it is able to compare it to the current level of respiration as determined by the efferent signals. If the level of respiration is inappropriate for the body's status then dyspnea might occur. It is worth noting that there is a psychological component of dyspnea as well, as some people may become aware of their breathing in such circumstances but not experience the distress typical of dyspnea.[12]

Evaluation

MRC Breathlessness Scale
Grade Degree of dyspnea
0 no dyspnea except with strenuous exercise
1 dyspnea when walking up an incline or hurrying on the level
2 walks slower than most on the level, or stops after 15 minutes of walking on the level
3 stops after a few minutes of walking on the level
4 with minimal activity such as getting dressed, too dyspneic to leave the house

The initial approach to evaluation begins by assessment of the airway, breathing, and circulation followed by a medical history and physical examination.[2] Signs that represent significant severity include: hypotension, hypoxemia, tracheal deviation, altered mental status, unstable dysrhythmia, stridor, intercostal indrawing, cyanosis, and absent breath sounds.[4]

A number of scales may be used to quantify the degree of shortness of breath.[13] It may be subjectively rated on a scale from 1 to 10 with descriptors associated with the number (The Modified Borg Scale).[13] Alternatively a scale such as the MRC Breathlessness Scale might be used - it suggests five different grades of dyspnea based on the circumstances in which it arises.[14]

Blood tests

A number of labs maybe helpful in determining the cause of shortness of breath. D-dimer while useful to rule out a pulmonary embolism in those who are at low risk is not of much value if it is positive as it may be positive in a number of conditions that lead to shortness of breath.[10] A low level of brain natriuretic peptide is useful in ruling out congestive heart failure however a high level while supportive of the diagnosis could also be due to advanced age, renal failure, acute coronary syndrome, or a large pulmonary embolism.[10]

Imaging

A chest x-ray is useful to confirm or rule out a pneumothorax, pulmonary edema, or pneumonia.[10] Spiral computed tomography with intravenousradiocontrast is the imaging study of choice to evaluate for pulmonary embolism.[10]

Treatment

In those who are none palliative the primary treatment of shortness of breath is directed at its underlying cause.[5] Extra oxygen is effective in those with hypoxia however has no effect in those with normal blood oxygen saturations.[3]

Palliative

Along with the measure above systemic immediate release opioids are beneficial in reducing the symptom of shortness of breath due to both cancer and non cancer causes.[3][15] There is a lack of evidence to recommend midazolam, nebulised opioids, the use of gas mixtures, or cognitive-behavioral therapy.[16]

Epidemiology

People with SOB make up about 7% of people who present to the emergency department in the United States. Of these approximately 51% are admitted to hospital and 13% are dead within a year.[17] Some studies have suggested that up to 27% of people suffer from dyspnea,[18] while in dying patients 75% will experience it.[12] Acute shortness of breath is the most common reason people who are palliative visit an emergency department.[3]

Etymology

Dyspnea (pronounced /dɪspˈniːə/ disp-NEE), (from Latin dyspnoea, from Greek dyspnoia from dyspnoos) literally means disordered breathing.[4]

References

  1. ^ About.com Health's Disease and Condition content > Dyspnea By Deborah Leader. Updated August 05, 2008
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Shiber JR, Santana J (May 2006). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Dyspnea"]. Med. Clin. North Am. 90 (3): 453–79. doi:10.1016/j.mcna.2005.11.006. PMID 16473100. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Schrijvers D, van Fraeyenhove F (2010). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Emergencies in palliative care"]. Cancer J 16 (5): 514–20. doi:10.1097/PPO.0b013e3181f28a8d. PMID 20890149. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Sarkar S, Amelung PJ (September 2006). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Evaluation of the dyspneic patient in the office"]. Prim. Care 33 (3): 643–57. doi:10.1016/j.pop.2006.06.007. PMID 17088153. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Zuberi, T. et al (2009). "Acute breathlessness in adults". InnovAiT 2 (5): 307–15. doi:10.1093/innovait/inp055. http://rcgp-innovait.oxfordjournals.org.cyber.usask.ca/content/2/5/307.full. 
  6. ^ American Heart Society (1999). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Dyspnea mechanisms, assessment, and management: a consensus statement"]. Am Rev Resp Crit Care Med 159: 321–340. 
  7. ^ TheFreeDictionary, retrieved on Dec 12, 2009. Citing:The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.Ologies & -Isms. The Gale Group 2008
  8. ^ "dyspnea - General Practice Notebook". http://www.gpnotebook.co.uk/simplepage.cfm?ID=825557022. 
  9. ^ http://en.diagnosispro.com/differential_diagnosis-for/poisoning-specific-agent-dyspnea/25103-154-100.html
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Torres M, Moayedi S (May 2007). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Evaluation of the acutely dyspneic elderly patient"]. Clin. Geriatr. Med. 23 (2): 307–25, vi. doi:10.1016/j.cger.2007.01.007. PMID 17462519. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Wills CP, Young M, White DW (February 2010). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Pitfalls in the evaluation of shortness of breath"]. Emerg. Med. Clin. North Am. 28 (1): 163–81, ix. doi:10.1016/j.emc.2009.09.011. PMID 19945605. 
  12. ^ a b c d Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (Kasper DL, Fauci AS, Longo DL, et al (eds)) (16th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
  13. ^ a b Saracino A (October 2007). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Review of dyspnoea quantification in the emergency department: is a rating scale for breathlessness suitable for use as an admission prediction tool?"]. Emerg Med Australas 19 (5): 394–404. doi:10.1111/j.1742-6723.2007.00999.x. PMID 17919211. 
  14. ^ Stenton C (2008). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "The MRC breathless scale."]. Occup Med 58 (3): 226–7. doi:10.1093/occmed/kqm162. PMID 18441368. 
  15. ^ Naqvi F, Cervo F, Fields S (August 2009). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Evidence-based review of interventions to improve palliation of pain, dyspnea, depression"]. Geriatrics 64 (8): 8–10, 12–4. PMID 20722311. 
  16. ^ DiSalvo, WM.; Joyce, MM.; Tyson, LB.; Culkin, AE.; Mackay, K. (Apr 2008). "Putting evidence into practice: evidence-based interventions for cancer-related dyspnea." (PDF). Clin J Oncol Nurs 12 (2): 341–52. doi:10.1188/08.CJON.341-352. PMID 18390468. http://ons.metapress.com/content/c21324512r838824/fulltext.pdf. 
  17. ^ Stephen J. Dubner; Steven D. Levitt (2009). SuperFreakonomics: Tales of Altruism, Terrorism, and Poorly Paid Prostitutes. New York: William Morrow. pp. 77. ISBN 0-06-088957-8. 
  18. ^ Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine, 4th Ed. Robert J. Mason, John F. Murray, Jay A. Nadel, 2005, Elsevier

External links


Simple English

Dyspnea or dyspnoea (said disp-nee-ah) is shortness of breath. Some research says that about 27% of people suffer it.

Causes

There are many different causes of dyspnea. Some include:

Pulmonary disorders

Other causes of diminished breathing

  • Obstruction of the airway
  • Immobilization of the diaphragm
    • Lesion of the phrenic nerve
    • Polycystic liver disease
    • Tumor in the diaphragm
  • Restriction of the chest volume
  • Disorders of the cardiovascular system
    • Aortic dissection
    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Congenital heart disease
    • CREST syndrome
    • Heart failure
    • Ischaemic heart disease
    • Malignant hypertension
    • Pericardium disorders, including:
      • Cardiac tamponade
      • Constrictive pericarditis
      • Pericardial effusion
    • Pulmonary edema
    • Pulmonary embolism
    • Valvular heart disease
  • Disorders of the blood and metabolism
  • Disorders affecting breathing nerves and muscles
    • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
    • Guillain-Barré syndrome
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Myasthenia gravis
    • Parsonage Turner syndrome
    • Eaton-Lambert syndrome
    • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Psychological conditions
  • Medications
    • Fentanyl
  • Other
    • Carbon monoxide poisoning







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