Assessment of dyspnoea

Last reviewed: 23 Feb 2023
Last updated: 09 Dec 2022




  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia (bacterial, viral, fungal, tuberculous)
  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • Croup
  • Acute coronary syndrome (ACS)
  • Stable angina
  • Arrhythmias
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Non-infective pneumonitis (eosinophilic, radiation, aspiration, hypersensitivity pneumonitis)
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Laryngitis
  • Pulmonary embolism (thrombotic, air, amniotic fluid, tumour)
  • Pleural effusion
  • Pleuritis
  • Anaemia
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Ascites
  • Shock
  • Pulmonary tumours
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Normal ageing, deconditioning, and obesity
Full details


  • Sepsis
  • Aortic dissection
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Pulmonary contusion
  • Epiglottitis
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Angio-oedema
  • Foreign body aspiration
  • Tracheobronchial tumours (benign or malignant)
  • Retrosternal goitre
  • Vocal cord dysfunction
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Hepatopulmonary syndrome
  • Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations
  • Pulmonary veno-occlusive disease
  • Mesothelioma
  • Pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum
  • Haemothorax
  • Acquired valvular heart disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cardiac drugs
  • Myocardial disease (cardiomyopathy, myocarditis)
  • Pericardial disease
  • Superior vena cava syndrome
  • Methaemoglobinaemia and carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Tetanus
  • Botulism
  • Phrenic nerve paralysis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Polio and other acute viral anterior horn infections
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Respiratory muscle deficiency
  • Paraneoplastic myasthenic syndrome
  • Thyroid disease
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Phaeochromocytoma
  • Kyphoscoliosis and pectus excavatum
  • Diphtheria
Full details



Tomasz J. Kuzniar, MD, PhD
Tomasz J. Kuzniar

Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine

University of Chicago

Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

NorthShore University HealthSystem




TJK is chair of the Education Committee of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and oversees the development of several educational products for the AASM. TJK is co-author of, and receives royalties from, two topics on sleep apnoea for UpToDate.


Dr Tomasz J. Kuzniar would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Kamilla Kasibowska-Kuzniar and Dr Kaiser G. Lim, previous contributors to this monograph.


KK-K and KGL declare that they have no competing interests.

Peer reviewers

Nicholas Maskell, MD

Senior Lecturer and Consultant Physician

North Bristol Lung Centre

Southmead Hospital




NM declares that he has no competing interests.

Najib Rahman, BM, BCh, MA (Oxon), MRCP (UK)

MRC Training Fellow and Specialist Registrar, Respiratory Medicine

Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine

Churchill Hospital




NR declares that he has no competing interests.

Jonathan P. Parsons, MD

Assistant Professor

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine

Ohio State University Medical Center




JPP declares that he has no competing interests.

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